As the world (including the fashion world) mourns the death of David Bowie, pop cultures most eccentric fashion-forward music icon, it would only seem right that we celebrate the Brixton, London born legend by admiring and appreciating his individual, empowered, and flamboyant wardrobe choices.
Although the stage has lost its most extravagant presence, the long lasting legacy of a musical hero who has made an incalculable impact reaching far beyond music, who was best known for undergoing a style revival at every possible turn will undoubtedly continue for years to come.
Here are three of his most radical, career-defining, shape-shifting looks that are indelibly burned into our minds. I haven’t included all of them (we’d be here for years), but, in no particular order, these are my favourites:
Mr Fish’s Man Dress
Bowie is recognised as an influential style icon in the twentieth century; he changed the typical conservative and dull dress of the male gender into a flood of vibrant, colourful, and non-gender defining dress. A contributor of this movement was the designer Michael Fish. One of Bowies earliest attempts of becoming a visionary, was through Mr. Fish’s Man Dress. This enabled Bowie to destroy and defy rigid, stereotypical gender styles that were once consumed with boundaries and borders. The power of Bowie’s music allowed him to manipulate image through clothes, which has been infiltrated through fashion collections, shows and photography ever since.
Tokyo Pop Bodysuit
A classic, memorable and extravagant costume which Bowie wore was the vinyl inspired Tokyo Pop bodysuit which he wore for the Aladdin Sane tour in 1973. The Japanese inclined costume, arguably reflects the post-war period of reconciliation between the West and Japan. The split skirt which portrays a style similar to that of martial art experts rather than rock star (although the sequences have a rock n roll flair) demonstrates just how much of a creator and innovator Bowie was.
Last but by no means least, Bowie’s outfit while performing on Dutch TV confirms his couture style status. Effortlessly donning an eye patch, face paint and wearing black heels, Bowie’s classic cropped trousers are influential in the fashion world today. Although the eye patch and white face paint might seem peculiar, the eye patch was simply worn because he has conjunctivitis, the confidence which he exerts in himself and through his alter ego Ziggy Stardust, influenced a generation and continues to influence the world today.
It is fair to say that David Bowie’s immense career reached far beyond music, and influenced the world of fashion, history and gender bending. A boy who was born in Brixton turned into a fearless man who provided creation, innovation and originality to an era. Rest in peace, Ziggy Stardust.