| Jackson in red coat
New York, May 29: The most important appearance of Michael Jackson’s life will begin, for his tailor at least, at the unearthly hour of 3 am on a quiet street in the San Fernando Valley suburbs of Los Angeles.
Later that day, at the courthouse in Santa Maria, the jury in Jackson’s trial ' now in its final stages ' will return its verdict on whether the king of pop is a child molester.
Before his unwelcome moment in the spotlight, though, a crucial decision must be made: what to wear'
Throughout the singer’s four-month trial, he has taken pains not to wear the same outfit twice.
In a daily labour of love, one of his two tailors has risen before dawn, picked up a freshly stitched confection of silk, brocade, gold braid, faux reptile fabric, epaulettes and ' frequently ' British military medals, and started the 90-mile drive north on Freeway 101 to the singer’s Neverland Ranch.
Rhinestones at the ready, Michael Bush and Dennis Tompkins have been kitting out Jackson for 20 years, making thousands of outfits for concert tours and pop videos. During the trial, Bush, 46, has been arriving at Neverland at 6 am to spend up to an hour dressing Jackson.
After receiving a hug and thanks from the singer, he drives all the way back to Los Feliz and helps Tompkins put the finishing touches to the next day’s look. They try to get to sleep by 9 pm, but are sometimes awake at 11 pm.
Jackson, 46, faces 20 years in jail wearing nothing more exotic than an orange jumpsuit if he is found guilty of molesting Gavin Arviso, a 15-year-old cancer survivor, at Neverland.
His court clothes have been as carefully orchestrated as his defence. Day one and Jackson was clad all in white ' a colour synonymous with purity and innocence.
“We started with the white suit and everyone went crazy,” Bush told the Los Angeles Times last week.
“So we went to dark suits - the navy blues, the blacks, grey pinstripes. Then we put the red double-breasted blazer on him ' well, the world stopped. The red coat got half a page in all the papers.
“We have two or three tailors around town making jackets because we can’t make them fast enough. When we get together with Michael, it’s showtime.”