Michael Jackson jacket designed by Wollongong duo

New threads for famous star: Robert Manzini (left) and Ricky Milne with the Michael Jackson wax figure, dressed in the jacket they designed and created.Picture: SONY MUSIC AUSTRALIA

New threads for famous star: Robert Manzini (left) and Ricky Milne with the Michael Jackson wax figure, dressed in the jacket they designed and created.Picture: SONY MUSIC AUSTRALIA

Two Wollongong men are waxing lyrical about their moment with Michael Jackson and the biggest opportunity in their design careers.

Ricky Milne and Robert Manzini, both involved in local amateur theatre, created a jacket for the Michael Jackson wax figure at Sydney's Madame Tussauds museum.

The pair were approached by Sony Music Australia to design and create the jacket worn by Jackson on the new album Xscape - created from unreleased music and recordings, and officially released at the museum earlier this month.

Mr Milne, 26, said it was a unique challenge to make the jacket in a two-week time frame, in between work, study and theatre commitments.

"The jacket on the album cover is not in existence so Robert and I had to put our heads together to figure out just how to make this jacket from a computer-generated image come to life, and we did it," Mr Milne said.

"We are very proud of this piece of work because it is the first one to be made in the world."

Mr Milne said they were given the honour of dressing the Jackson figurine in their jacket and they were there, on the day of the launch of Xscape, to help Sony with the proceedings.

"People were lining up to purchase an album and get a photo with the Michael Jackson wax figure that was dressed in our jacket," he said.

The jacket was made to Jackson's measurements and the star, who died in 2009, had a tiny frame, Mr Milne said.

"He was always very tailored in what he wore," he said.

Mr Milne is a certificate IV in fashion design student from TAFE Illawarra's Wollongong West campus and Mr Manzini, 29, is a live production and theatre student from Enmore TAFE.

In their spare time, Mr Manzini is a graphic designer and Mr Milne is a make-up artist for the Arcadians Theatre Group. They are working on the production The Phantom of the Opera, which opens August 15 at the Illawarra Performing Arts Centre.

"I'll be doing the phantom's make-up every night, which will consist of special effects like latex and a massive transformation," Mr Milne said.

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