The Autry National Center in Los Angeles has just opened a special exhibit on How the West Was Worn... by Michael Jackson.
It's a sartorial Imaginary Wild West that traces its way back to the glamour clothes of Buffalo Bill, Roy Rogers, Gene Autry and a host of rhinestone cowboys and glittery country and western singers.
The Autry is a wonderful museum that pays particular attention to the West of the Imagination as well as the reality of the American frontier experience. I had a fellowship there a few years ago to study the creation and marketing of the western myth, and I have a date to speak to museum docents there next month.In the world of style, pop icon Michael Jackson’s willingness to try different patterns and designs made him truly unique. Millions of people around the world saw his elaborate costumes, but very few realized the Western influence in the design. The Autry National Center’s installation shows how Jackson’s use of Western wear evolved over the years, reflecting his ability to use classic Western styles in distinctive ways.