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Look of the Week: North West wears $4,480 ‘Smooth Criminal’ hat for Halloween

<i>kimkardashian/Instagram</i><br/>In 2019 after winning the auction
kimkardashian/Instagram
In 2019 after winning the auction

Leah Dolan, CNN

Another Halloween, another weekend of watching celebrities play dress up. This year, we saw Megan Fox and Machine Gun Kelly impersonate quintessential ’90s couple Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee, Lori Harvey dress as Beyoncé, Lizzo channel Marge Simpson and social media influencer Addison Rae recreate Lady Gaga’s blood-soaked 2009 VMA’s look. Heidi Klum’s legendary Halloween party was also reinstated after a two-year hiatus, where the former supermodel arrived dressed as a giant worm.

Among some of the most anticipated looks, as has become tradition, were those from the Kardashian family. Now notorious for their Halloween efforts, fans can depend on the Kardashians’ increasingly elaborate costumes (each coming with its own high-production photo shoot, of course).

This year, however, those looks included Kylie Jenner as ’80s horror-comedy icon Elvira, Mistress of the Dark and Kendall Jenner as a perfect slice of cucumber — and, according to a TikTok video from the account she shares with her mother, Kim Kardashian — 9-year-old North West dressed as Michael Jackson in the music video for his 1988 hit “Smooth Criminal.”

Wearing a white t-shirt, black leather jacket, one black glove, North’s outfit was topped by the original cream fedora Jackson wore in the music video. The hat was a Christmas present for North purchased by her parents at an auction held by Julien’s Auction in California in 2019. (North is “a really big Michael Jackson fan,” Kardashian said on her Instagram after winning the items, adding that her daughter was “so grateful and excited” to own the clothes.) The piece of pop history — which is still smeared with Jackson’s makeup, according to an Instagram story uploaded by Kardashian at the time — was bought just months after HBO’s four-hour documentary ‘Leaving Neverland,’ detailing the King of Pop’s alleged sexual predation toward children, aired.

The Jackson family have long since denied the accusations, as did Jackson himself when he went to trial in 2005 for charges of abusing a 13-year-old. He was acquitted on all accounts before his death in 2009.

The Kardashians also bought a custom velvet and rhinestone jacket Jackson wore to Elizabeth Taylor’s 65th birthday party in 1997 for $65,000 at the auction, which was later altered to fit North’s measurements.

This isn’t the first time Jackson’s wardrobe and other related memorabilia have crossed the auction block. In 2012, a charity auction of the musician’s closet raised $5 million — with Lady Gaga cited as one of the biggest bidders, purchasing 55 items. In a tweet following the auction, Gaga wrote that the pieces, “will be archived & expertly cared for in the spirit & love of Michael Jackson, his bravery, & fans worldwide.” In 2016, Gaga wore Jackson’s red and black military jacket to a Hiliary Clinton rally in North Carolina.

Online, many lambasted North’s Halloween costume as disrespectful. “Kim is a graverobber,” wrote one Twitter user. Others felt cultural artifacts such as these shouldn’t be sold privately at all. “Why are we letting celebrities use historical things as props or costumes,” read another tweet. “Shouldn’t these be in museums if not then give to the peoples families?”

Many also noted that this isn’t the first time the Kardashians have faced criticism for wearing classic pop culture pieces. Attending this year’s Met Gala in May, Kim Kardashian wore the skin-colored, hand sewn crystal dress Marilyn Monroe wore in 1962 when she famously sang “Happy Birthday” to President John F. Kennedy. Though Kardashian wore the original gown only briefly to walk the event’s red carpet — after which she changed into a replica — photos of potential damage to its seams and sequins, loaned to Kardashian by Ripley’s Believe it or Not!, circulated on social media in subsequent days as evidence why museum pieces should be preserved and not borrowed. Ripley’s later released a statement confirming the dress did not suffer any damage in the short time it was worn.

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