“My Music Has To Visually Resemble How It Sounds” - David Bowie
With his wardrobe as fascinating as it is eccentric, Bowie was voted “The Best Dressed Man in British History” in 2013 by a panel of fashion experts in BBC History magazine. He was one of the artistes who never shied away from any eccentricity. His image will always be inextricably linked with his musical identity.
David Jones (alias David Bowie) has undeniably made his mark on the history of popular music and on fashion. Ziggy Stardust, Aladdin Sane, the Thin White Duke: the personalities of each of his alter-egos are inextricably linked with very unique styles. This multi-faceted artiste and his emblematic personalities has had an influence on how we dress today, and has inspired many designers.
His Style Was Created From All Things
Bowie style was not purely a fashion product and the imagination of a designer. He created it in the same way he invented the personalities of his concept discs. The Bowie style is both the tool and the consequence of his self-creation: the only animal of his species, Bowie was unlike anybody and no one was like him. He invented himself. Bowie is in himself a pure event, arising from the hyper-creative brain of the young David Jones.
In 2015, after its immense success in London, the Philharmonie de Paris dedicated the 'David Bowie' exhibition to his emblematic looks and silhouettes. The exhibition attracted 200,000 visitors and was later also shown in Australia and the Netherlands. The exhibition will travel to Japan in 2017.
Bowie, Or The Intelligent Mix Of A Number Of Influences, an artiste who has undeniably made his dressing a real piece of art!
Culture vamp or androgynous gay; Warhol, Velvet and Berlin; glam rock glitter that has already been endorsed by Marc Bolan with T.Rex; the glamorous stars with plucked eyebrows of the Hollywood golden age; the metallic aesthetics of a futuristic Kubrick 2001: A Space Odyssey or the modes of Clockwork Orange ; ...
David Bowie has always been aware of the universe of fashion.
After having had his his stage costumes made by friends and acquaintances (Freddie Buretti for his first Ziggy Stardust costumes, and later Natasha Korniloff) he often called upon established designers.
The young Kansai Yamamoto was the first designer to create a Bowie stage costume, for his Ziggy Stardust / Aladdin Sane tour in 1972/1973: kabuki-inspired concept costumes which today remain cultlike in the rock history scene.
In 1997, Alexander McQueen tailored Bowie's iconic Union Jack riding coat, which featured on the cover of his 'Earthling' album.
In 2002, Hedi Slimane designed Bowie's stage costumes.
In the meantime, there was also Thierry Mugler, who was commissioned to design Bowie's suit for his wedding to Iman. Proof that, for Bowie, the stage and real life were the same thing, and one's existence was only a role in a scene where your outfit was the most certain way to take your place in the narration of your own life – and in Bowie's case, one which was shared with the whole world.
Fashion Didn't Inspire Him, He Inspired Fashion
Bowie inspired Alexander McQueen and Gareth Pugh in their anatomically-distorted styles. Bowie's songs feature on the soundtrack of "McQueen", the film biography of the designer.
The fashion photographer Nick Knight photographed Kate Moss in Bowie's Aladdin Sane style for British Vogue in 2003. “Bowie represented a strange figure who was masculine and aggressive, and ultra feminine at the same time”.
Fida Gianini for Gucci: Winter 2006/2007, Winter 2009/2010 and Summer 2012 collections.
Hedi Slimane at Dior Hommes for his finely streamlined creations and his taste for a 1970s-inspired androgynous masculine style.
In 2011, Dries Van Noten broke with tradition and reexamined the Bowie dandy style. His Autumn-Winter collection brought the Thin White Duke back to life. Exit the punk, slicked-back, gelled hair. Broad and sombre black suits with white shirts underneath could not be more classic.
"David Bowie inspired me with his creativity, his extravagance, his sense of fashion, his pace, his elegance and his play with the genre" » JPG. In 2011, for his Spring-Summer Prêt-à-Porter collection, Jean Paul Gaultier's runway models wore the flashy makeup and red hair of Ziggy Stardust.
In 2013, the designer featured an Aladdin Sane-era asymmetrical, colorful suit as an homage to the stars of the 80s.
In 2013, David Bowie appeared alongside the model Arizona Muse in the Louis Vuitton “Invitation au Voyage” (“An Invitation to Travel”) campaign, and played “I'd Rather Be High” on the harpsichord.
In 2015, the Dior Haute Couture Spring-Summer collection was titled Moonage Daydream, in honor of Bowie's 1972 album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders from Mars. Models strutted on a futuristic set to the sounds of Moonage Daydream, Wild is the Wind and Rock 'n' Roll Suicide.
And more recently, at the Burberry Menswear Fall - Winter 2016-2017 show in London, Christopher Bailey paid homage to the singer: at the 'Where Are We Now' show, the models' makeup was inspired by the style icon, and, as a highlight of the show, the letters 'BO' and 'WIE' were inscribed on the heart and the palms of a model. The designer said of Bowie: "He was a legend. We will all miss his creativity, his style and elegant approach to everything". A wonderful homage to the elegance of David Bowie.
Designers, Artistes and Spiritual Children Have Reacted To The Death Of David Bowie
"My Major Influence"
The office of Hedi Slimane, in charge of design at Saint Laurent, issued the following statement last night: "Hedi is shocked and devastated by the loss of David Bowie."
"He did not know of his illness. David Bowie helped to Hedi to grow during his adolescence. He was a major influence on Hedi - his first record at the age of 6, his first concert at 14. They had fortuitously met in the early 2000s and had become friends. They sometimes found themselves in New York when Hedi was passing through.
David wore stage costumes designed by Hedi while performing at the CFDA (Counsel of Fashion Designers of America, ed) in New York in 2002, as well as during his tours in the first half of the 2000s. Hedi also photographed Bowie's tours as well as his stagewear collection. He got along very well with David's team: Coco and Jimmy, with whom he shared many unforgettable moments.
"Diamond Dogs: A Monster Glamor"
Rick Owens: "I remember seeing the Bowie 'Diamond Dogs' album cover in the sales bin at the K-mart in my little town. I felt a secret I didn't even know I had had been discovered and exposed. It made me very uncomfortable at the time... the monster glamor of that cover made me feel there was a place for me in the world."
"He Embodies The Elegance Of Discretion"
Haider Ackermann: "In an increasingly voyeuristic world, David Bowie has always cultivated a certain mystery. That voice that caresses you, coupled with the ambiguity of the character and his sexuality...makes it very touching. Bowie embodies the elegance of discretion, nobility in its purest state".
"He Was Never Mistaken"
Paul Smith: "David Bowie was a master of reinvention and he was never wrong. I am very lucky to say he was a friend and one of my clients. I had the privilege of working with him at different stages of his career and am extremely lucky to have known him. He was an artist, but also a particularly exceptional individual. We will all miss him".
“He Bent Mores”
Dries Van Noten: “It is easy to seem trite when even beginning to quantify Bowie’s talent, genius, courage, and creative potency. He bent mores, intrigued, confronted, and embraced us as one of many personae. He opened the great, big gates to our future and sparked in us that creativity that proves vital even to this day. A highlight of my career has been receiving David Bowie’s permission to rework the original parts of the recordings for Heroes as the soundtrack for my women’s collection for Autumn/Winter 2011-12. That same season, my men’s collection had been directly inspired by his style and attitude. The models walked to a reworking of Golden Years as a soundtrack and all had their hair dyed as the shock of red we see on the cover of Low.”
"I Discussed Him With Tilda Swinton”
Clare Waight Keller, creative director of Chloé, "Bowie has always been in my life. I listened on the radio growing up in England in the 70s, fascinated by Ziggy Stardust and the Thin White Duke. When I decided to become a designer, I sought an art school and decided on one which he had also gone to, Ravensbourne, in London. I felt a connection there, I thought of him, I thought that the mixture of disciplines had to have influenced, had to develop his creativity. Later, when I was hired at Pringle of Scotland, Tilda Swinton was the face of the brand. We discussed all the advertising campaigns, and spoke of him, his way of mixing masculine and feminine, his crazy hair. And even recently, during my last pre-collection for Chloé, when I wanted glamor and masculine style, and went to look for it in his Berlin period, with Brian Eno. "
"The Power To Be Different"
Jonny Johansson: "I learned a lot more about life listening to music than at school, and Bowie's music is clearly for that. I am convinced that it is thanks to him that I am neither afraid of masculinity or of femininity. I only look for a modern form of expression. Yet I have never put a picture of Bowie in my mood boards, but it's as if he has always been there".
Tommy Hilfiger: "David Bowie was not just a style or music icon, but an innovator of pop culture worldwide. To have him and his wife Iman in my 2003 campaign was an important moment in my life and will remain unforgettable. "
Humberto Leon, co-founder and artistic creator of the brand Opening Ceremony and co-artistic director at Kenzo: "David Bowie pushed all the limits possible by reinventing himself each time. Each character was the result of a grand project and all have become iconic. He is a great inspiration to us in the language of prints, colors, silhouettes, style and daring. For designers, he touched us all ".
David Neville, the American brand Rag & Bone: "He was absolutely fearless in everything he has undertaken - he was a true source of inspiration and an icon. When we won the CFDA Award, he came and sat at our table. I heard his voice say, "Well done, mate", I turned around and there he was”. “I felt faint", adds Marcus Wainwright.
Walter van Beirendonck: "Bowie represents a lot to me. In my teens, he gave me power and strength and made me want to become a fashion designer”. His Summer 2016 collection was electric eye-themed, 'Moonage Daydream' inspired, with Seventies' silhouettes, wide pants and top hats.
Christopher Kane: "He was a chameleon and a kind of alien. You never knew what to expect. He was like a Jack in the Box, something surprising that springs out”.
Bowie, Ready-To-Wear Muse of 2016
For the release of his last album, Blackstar, David Bowie worked with creator Paul Smith and designer Jonathan Barnbrook to create two t-shirts featuring a large star, signed "Paul Smith for David Bowie" (available since January, 8).
Available from February, Sandro has dedicated a capsule collection to David Bowie with three new t-shirts, printed with 'Bowie', '1972 World Tour' and 'Rebel Rebel', with reference to the title released in 1974.
Bowie, The Playwright
As well as being a master of illusion, Bowie was also a playwright. "David is here!" cried the crowd at the entrance of the New York Theatre Workshop at the premiere of "Lazarus", a musical he had co-written with Enda Walsh, inspired by the movie "Man Who Fell to Earth" by Nicolas Roeg (1976). 'Lazarus' is a visual effects bombardment featuring classic Bowie songs, as well as new titles. Bowie's alter-ego Newton says chillingly: “I am a dying man condemned to never die”.
His Latest Album, As A Farewell Gift
At midnight on November 19, 2015, without informing his record label, David Bowie unveiled the prophetic video clip for "Blackstar", the title song of his latest album, released January 8, 2016.
Like a hologram reflecting the light and shadows of all our avatars, David Bowie has always surprised us with his life force …
The lessons that the music industry could learn from the career of David Bowie
When Emily Dean, advertising coordination specialist, asked on Facebook, "Who today in the new generation of English-speaking artists has had the same artistic impact of Bowie in his time? Who are today's musical icons?", most of the artists and bands mentioned were not recent ones, but of Bowie's generation or, like Bjork or Damon Albarn, from the 90s.
The loss of value in music. From the moment music's traditional business model was Uberized, it caused a chain reaction and considerable damage to the music industry, which continues to pay a heavy price for its negligence and its ignorance of the digital revolution
The Huffington Post attempts to explain this situation and cites the following examples as examples of the breakdown in the industry:
1.Record companies taken over by financiers, a fact which has certainly killed the kind of spirit embodied at the time by Chris Blackwell and his Island label, with its artist development policy that contradicted all rules of company profitability (but which gave rise to bands like U2, Cat Stevens and John Martyn).
2.It was the Major Artistic Director who could afford to take risks on an artist until the second or third album, before seeing any profit from his investment. Bowie did not have any hits in the first five years of his career, something that would be impossible these days.
3.A destructive alliance, in terms of artistic value, between the major companies and the world of television has given rise a kind of situation in the music industry which creates ephemeral stars, using methods designed to appeal to the lowest common artistic denominator to seduce the widest possible section of the public.
4.The arrival of artistes who come from the 'establishment' and can afford to be funded by their families or their personal fortunes. The working class hero of the rock 'n' roll era seems to be definitely a thing of the past.
5.Performers and independent labels who want to interest the recording company A&R (Artiste & Repertoire) executives are under pressure to prove their influence on the Internet, a process which can exclude real talents who may not be tech-savvy or who do not have a manager or an entourage to do it for them. Bowie would have been a social network star, an 'instar' like Lady Gaga if the Internet had existed during his beginnings.
6.The lack of staying power of the new generation of artists. In the last 10 years, few artists have managed to maintain their appeal and influence on their audience, and consequently, achieve icon status.
As some commentators have written, “After Bowie we could dress as we pleased, and assume an androgynous look without fear of being mocked”...the chameleon has succeeded in bringing his fantasy style to the ranks of popular culture.
7.The lack of personality and culture in the new generations of artists (and probably in some of the public) because what makes an icon is also the ability to speak out and question his era, through the prism of their creativity and their relationship with other artistic disciplines.
Bowie, Mick Jagger and Paul McCartney may have all attended modest local art schools, but these establishments provided them an enriching experience, and allowed them to evolve. These types of schools have become increasingly rare and thus enormously expensive in the UK.
8.Music has reached an oversupply, and consequently audiences are now less emotionally attached to their music than in the 50s or 60s. The release of a Beatles or a Bowie album was quite an event for the young generations of those days, who hurried to the privacy of their teenage bedrooms to listen to the precious vinyl records. Such attention and excitement around the release of an artiste's album is virtually nonexistent today.
Conclusion: In the multimedia culture where the image has become the main media, and self-promotion via selfies is the Number One sport, the modern public does not seem to value icons anymore, except perhaps for the trashiest personalities. The styles of artistes are still being copied, but this has largely become meaningless.