David Bowie* From Rock Star to Fashion Inspiration

David Bowie* From Rock Star to Fashion Inspiration

Our world is a lot sadder this week without David Bowie, the greatest rock star who ever fell to this or any other world. He was the hottest tramp, the slinkiest vagabond, the prettiest star who ever shouted “You’re not alone!” to an arena full of the world’s loneliest kids.

David Bowie* From Rock Star to Fashion Inspiration

He was the most human and most alien of rock artists, turning to face the strange, speaking to the freak in everyone. He stared into your twitchy teenage eyes to assure you that you’ve torn your dress and your face is a mess, yet that’s precisely why you’re a juvenile success. Whichever Bowie you loved best — the glam starman, the wispy balladeer, the Berlin archduke — he made you feel braver and freer, which is why the world felt different after you heard Bowie. This man’s spaceship always knew which way to go.

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That’s why he always inspired such fierce devotion. Which is why so many different people have heard themselves in his music, whether it’s Barbra Streisand covering “Life On Mars?” in 1974 or D’Angelo covering “Space Oddity” in 2012, George Clinton namechecking him on Mothership Connection or Public Enemy sampling him in “Night of the Living Baseheads.”

David Bowie* From Rock Star to Fashion Inspiration

Blackstar was a “parting gift.” In his last couple of years on the planet, Bowie threw himself back into the music career everyone figured he’d long since retired from gracefully, making The Next Day and Blackstar as his farewells to the flock he’d assembled over the years. Heading for the final curtain, Bowie chose to face it the way he faced everything else — it was cold and it rained, so he felt like an actor and went to work, going out at a creative peak.

No other rock artist left a final testament anything like this. Nor like the excellent off-Broadway musical he debuted last year, Lazarus — definitely the only time I’ve ever seen actors sing “Heroes” while swimming like dolphins through a puddle of milk.

David Bowie* From Rock Star to Fashion Inspiration

For all his spaciness, it was his crackpot compassion that made him Bowie. You can see that even in a movie like The Man Who Fell to Earth, which barely has a single coherent scene.

The movie is a mess, just because Bowie is too hot to share the screen with anyone — you can see all the other actors watching him, wondering, “Is David looking at me? Does he think I’m pretty? Does he respect my creative process?” Bowie’s at his most zonked out, yet he still seems like the least confused figure there. But he looks so cool (orange hair! Borsalino hat! Trench coat and tennis whites and silver pants!) that I’ve seen this movie several dozen times anyway. 

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As the Martian lodger stranded on earth, Bowie records an album for his wife back on his home planet, The Visitor, hoping it will get get played on the radio and his wife out there in space will hear it.

David Bowie* From Rock Star to Fashion Inspiration

Bowie was on the cutting edge until the end, fusing his love of rapper Kendrick Lamar and jazz saxophonist Donny McCaslin in the secret sessions for his 25th and final studio album, . Recorded during marathon sessions beginning in 2014, Bowie would often sing for seven hours straight. “Lazarus” appears to have been written for the current off-Broadway play of the same name, about a lonely, once-wealthy man living in New York.

Over a spooky, hypnotic rhythm, Bowie conjures the character as convincingly as he did Ziggy and the Thin White Duke. After the singer’s death, the lyrics took on deeper meaning, and thousands started retweeting lines from the song:

Look up here, I’m in heaven
I’ve got scars that can’t be seen
I’ve got drama
Can’t be stolen
Everybody knows me now 

Oh, I’ll be free
Just like that bluebird
Oh, I’ll be free
Ain’t that just like me?

David Bowie Inspired Runway Looks

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DIOR COUTURE SPRING 2015

David Bowie* From Rock Star to Fashion Inspiration

Not even the rarified runways of the Couture were immune to Seventies swirls via one of the Starman’s fans, Raf Simons.

MIU MIU FALL 2012

David Bowie* From Rock Star to Fashion Inspiration

Miuccia Prada’s slick silk suits, printed blouses and ties recalled — if not exactly literally — the turquoise, tight bespoke costume from “Life on Mars”.

JEAN PAUL GAULTIER SPRING 2013

David Bowie* From Rock Star to Fashion Inspiration

Jean Paul Gaultier’s runway was a who’s who of pop icons and smack dab in the middle was the spiky ginger Ziggy in a bold one-legged wonder.

TOMMY HILFIGER SPRING 2015

David Bowie* From Rock Star to Fashion Inspiration

In a collection that cribbed liberally from the pantheon of British rock royalty, Tommy Hilfiger added in sparkling booties and a teeny tiny boyish onesie.

DIANE VON FURSTENBERG FALL 2013

David Bowie* From Rock Star to Fashion Inspiration

Other designers can be inspired, but Diane von Furstenberg actually partied with the man himself in the 70s (of course when Mick Jagger brought him by her apartment). So when she taps into a Seventies glam rock vibe, it’s first-hand experience.

See also our article on John Robert Wiltgen, a designer of many surprises.

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