David Bowie's 6 Most Thrilling Fashion Moments Ahead Of The V&A Retrospective

08 March 2013 by

It's really not long now until the V&A retrospective of David Bowie's work - and in particular his eye-popping, mind-blowing stagewear and costumes - and tickets are selling fast - (so get them from V&A.ac.uk Bowie fans!). We are already anticipating seeing the finery up close and personal, and have picked out six of his most iconic looks from his long and never-endingly creative career...

1. Life On Mars

At this stage in the early Seventies Bowie worked a lot with costume designer Freddie Burretti. He made Bowie crazy trouser suits out of unexpected, bright coloured or sometimes patterned and printed fabrics. One particular powder blue suit features in the V&A show and was once worn by Miss Kate Moss for a shoot, who ‘had to have it let out’. The curator from the show, Victoria Broackes explained that the museum has special extra skinny mannequins made to David’s measurements – to display his pieces on, in the show.

2. Ziggy Stardust 

This was the first alter ego that Bowie adopted, which had the effect of exploding onto the music scene, and really making him famous in 1972, although it was his fifth album.  People thought he was from another planet, and the older generation were shocked because they ‘didn’t know if he was a boy or a girl’. He worked with Japanese designer Kansai Yamamoto on his outrageous satin stagewear and leotards.

3. Aladdin Sane

His facepaint was designed by Pierre La Roche, a makeup artist from the House of Arden, who worked with David to create the famous album cover for Aladdin Sane and also worked with him on photoshoots and performances at this time 1973.

4. The Thin White Duke

This masculine look, with the white button-down shirt, wide leg trousers and the fedora hat have inspired many designers, womenswear and menswear since then. The Thin White Duke persona was in the mid Seventies – David was thin and pale enough from his drug addiction to play an alien in the film The Man Who Fell To Earth. It was a time when Bowie was living in LA and at that era he released the albums Diamond Dogs and Young Americans.

5. Zoot Suits on the Serious Moonlight Tour

To accompany the commercial smash hit album Lets Dance – David and his band wore pastel coloured zoot suits, designed by the costume designer from the New York Metropolitan Opera, called Peter J Hall. Bowie crooning in his buttercup yellow suit with an undone polka dot bowtie is one of his most iconic menswear looks.

6. Scary Monsters

After spending time in Berlin, where he made three albums, Bowie returned to the world of fashion experimentation with Ashes to Ashes, a song from his Scary Monsters album in 1980. The amazing video for this was filmed on a beach, with David wearing a Pierrot suit and featuring members of London’s New Romantic scene, who he found at the Blitz nightclub. Milliner Stephen Jones, was was also a Blitz kid, made all the crazy hats for the video.

The V&A shop have produced some super cool Bowie souvenirs as part of the exhibition. If you like the idea of a limited edition Bowie T shirt, (£120) or any other Bowie memorabealia, then check out their online boutique . . .


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