Herbert, the brilliant mind behind Linkqlo, asked me to write a piece about David Bowie. A tribute. But here’s the thing: I wasn’t really familiar with David Bowie. Perhaps this is sacrilege. Perhaps I should be ashamed. Perhaps my ignorance was due to the fact that I’m one of those millenials. But there it is. The truth.
So, I set out to learn a little about this man, this legend: David Bowie. Who was he? And what was his influence on the world of fashion?
For me, reading about David Bowie was kind of like reading about some mythic origin story. The Origin Story of Rockstars As We Know Them or The Origin Story of Fashion As We Know It. He is kind of credited for starting a lot of trends – but not just trends, really – ways of Being. Acting. Performing.
I think that perhaps Bowie would have resonated with Shakespeare’s infamous lines: “All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances, And one man in his time plays many parts, His acts being seven ages.” David Bowie certainly recognized the power – the effect – of performance and the role that fashion, specifically, plays in performance and transformation.
Before Lady Gaga wore a dress made out of meat, before Madonna mimicked Marilyn Monroe in the video for “Material Girl,” before punk was an aesthetic, before rock was glam, there was David Bowie.
What struck me the most about Bowie was his myriad and delightfully eccentric and androgynous personas and the way that they informed his style and his music. I learned that he incorporated elements of musical theater and cabaret into his performances and personas, which once you think about it, makes a whole lot of sense.
Here’s a brief look at those personas and looks. See the evolution of the genius for yourself:
an imagined alien, mars-like creature
Picture via theartdesk.com
a pun for “A lad, insane”
Picture via electricfeast.com
described as “a real cool cat” who lives in the “Hungry City”
Picture via Pinterest
The Thin White Duke
the character is informed by the film “The Man Who Fell to Earth”
Picture via ladygrinningsoul.com
I think that maybe in the end, I did know David Bowie all along – through his tangible influence on fashion as I know it and fashion’s relationship to music and to performance.
Cover Photo via: alternativenation.net