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Fashion, David Bowie Style
Try to imagine David Bowie without recalling some of the more outrageous and Avant-garde looks he’s pioneered—it’s impossible. As he emerged in the public eye in the late 1960s, nearly every album came with a new theme. A new outrageous, gender-bending outfit. A new David Bowie.
The introduction of Bowie’s alter ego Ziggy Stardust for his 1972 album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars debuted some of the singer’s most outrageous and recognizable looks. Bowie worked with the Tokyo designer Kansai Yamamoto to help create the look of what was meant to be an extra-terrestrial character—wearing anything from one-legged patterned jumpsuits to structure-shouldered, striped space ensembles with platform boots. Some of Yamamoto’s designs that Bowie donned had originally been designed for women, and initially, the designer was shocked to see a man wearing them for performances and photoshoots. Bowie consistently broke the ‘men don’t wear make-up’ convention, often using his face to add to his look: a glowing gold orb in the middle of his forehead or an electric lightning bolt across his face, burned into the history of rock ‘n’ roll on the Aladdin Sane (1973) album cover.
Another iconic look of Bowie’s was debuted in the music video for the song “Ashes to Ashes” off of the Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps) album (1980). Natasha Korniloff designed the clown costume for Bowie, modeled after the Parisian pantomime character, Pierrot. Touring for this album and those after, Bowie took on a more polished look with pleated suit pants and button-down shirts—but never without some key accessories such as suspenders, an undone bowtie, or hat. As the character Jareth the Goblin King in the movie Labyrinth, Bowie cemented himself as a cult movie character, donning a memorable mane-like hairdo, leather cape, and flowing pirate-esque blouse.
The world lost a legendary musician and fashion icon when Bowie passed away from cancer on January 10, 2016. Fortunately, the photogenic musician’s legacy will live on in his music, style, and fearless spirit.