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Julien’s Announces One “Thriller” of an Auction

Michael Jackson’s June 2009 death sparked a renewed interest in the worldwide pop star, dominating the headlines and leading many to rediscover the singer and his legendary catalog.

The day he died, overall Internet traffic increased an astonishing 20 percent, with 15 percent of all Twitter posts being dedicated to the singer. In the year after his passing, the “Thriller” and “Billie Jean” singer sold over eight million albums in the U.S. and more than 35 million worldwide, generating in excess of $1 billion in additional revenue over that span.

Although it’s understandably tapered off, Jackson’s chart-topping resurgence has continued over the last three years. Considering that ephemera associated with the deceased former Jackson 5 member have rarely been more in-demand, it should come as no surprise that Hollywood auction house Julien’s is planning an auction of some of the most famous pieces from Jackson’s wardrobe.

Julien’s annual “Icons & Idols” exhibit and auction, which begins December 2 at the company’s Beverly Hills gallery, will feature costumes that haven’t been worn since Jackson himself donned them onstage and in his legendary music videos. The outfits were designed by Jackson and his longtime designers, Dennis Tomkins and Michael Bush.

There will be plenty for Jackson fans to salivate over in the auction, including the star’s black long-sleeve shirt and spandex pants from 1995’s “Scream” music video, a signed prototype of a helmet designed for Jackson’s 2001 Madison Square Garden shows and a breakaway suit he wore during the Australian leg of the Bad World Tour.

A signed Naval officer hat Jackson wore during the Bad tour, bejeweled right-hand glove and the intricate outfit he sported at the 1989 Soul Train Awards (“black wool jacket embellished with red armband, gold tone metal floral buttons, metallic embroidered crown patch at chest and buckled leather straps at right shoulder,” as described by Julien’s) will also be awarded to the highest bidder.

A limited-edition catalog ($75 through Julien’s website) highlighting the auction’s pieces will be released October 1, while Bush’s behind-the-scenes book about working with Jackson, Dressing Michael Jackson: Behind the Seams of a Fashion Icon, will follow on October 16. Bush’s publication will include the backstories for many of the items going up for grabs in December.

An exhibit featuring some of the auction’s marquee items will make its way around the globe before arriving in Beverly Hills for a pre-auction showing beginning November 19. South America (May 18 through June 27 at Santiago, Chile’s Museo De La Moda), Europe and Asia (date and location TBD) are all currently on the itinerary.

A portion of the proceeds from the Julien’s auction will be split between two charities, Guide Dogs of America and Las Vegas’ Nathan Adelson Hospice.

“There is no doubt that Michael Jackson was a global fashion icon as well as award winning and beloved musician…” reads a recent press release from Julien’s. “The collection showcases Michael Jackson’s love of fashion and huge impact on popular culture.”


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