As fans, friends, and family gather in Los Angeles today for one final Michael Jackson spectacle, Counterfeit Chic takes a moment to remember not only the Prince of Pop's music and style but also his functional fashion innovation. Michael is one of three co-inventors who received U.S. patent no. 5,255,452 for a "method and means for creating anti-gravity illusion" used in his live performances of "Smooth Criminal." In the words of the abstract, the patent covers:
A system for allowing a shoe wearer to lean forwardly beyond his center of gravity by virtue of wearing a specially designed pair of shoes which will engage with a hitch member movably projectable through a stage surface. The shoes have a specially designed heel slot which can be detachably engaged with the hitch member by simply sliding the shoe wearer's foot forward, thereby engaging with the hitch member.
Perhaps not poetry on paper, but certainly poetry in motion -- which is as much as one can ask of a patent, or a pop star.
UPDATE: The 8-page program handed out at the memorial service includes photos and quotes from those who knew Michael, including Tito, who notes, "My brother developed a shoe that showed resistance to gravity. What a man!" Via the New York Times live blog of the event.