On David Bowie's birthday, we look back at an artist that was famed as much for his image and powerful influence on fashion design as he was for his chart-topping music.
From the much-copied lightning flash face paint of Aladdin Sane, the oversize shoulders and white shirt collars of "Thin White Duke" to the trilby hat and floppy fringe of the alien he played in the movie "The Man Who Fell to Earth," Bowie boldly redefined style and gender — for decades — with his influential looks.
While Bowie, who was born David Robert James in Brixton in early 1947, died of cancer at age 69 on January 10, 2016 after just having released a new album, he is arguably as present as ever on the catwalks across the fashion capitals of the world. The androgynous, boundary-shattering figure transcended music to become "a great artist and a timeless fashion icon ... who will remain a reference," Chanel designer Karl Lagerfeld told the Associated Press in light of Bowie's passing.
Jean Paul Gaultier, Dior, Saint Laurent and Dries Van Noten and fashion-conscious actresses, such as Tilda Swinton, all owe Bowie a lot. From the 1972's flame-orange haired Ziggy Stardust — his most recognizable invention — to bold hair colors, sometimes slicked back and golden makeup to high shoulders, space themes, wide lapels on big monochrome or yellow jackets or sheeny playsuits with a deep cleavage, his signatures are often found on runways, editorials, and fashion film. Still yet, trends in recent seasons have turned the clocks back to the glam rock of the 1970s and '80s — a Bowie signature.
In Paris, Jean Paul Gaultier’s Spring/Summer 2013 ready-to-wear show, for instance, entitled "Rock Stars" paid homage to the man by recreating Ziggy Stardust on model Hannelore Knuts — who donned a one-legged, star encrusted net catsuit to applause from guests. Gaultier told the Associated Press that "personally, Bowie inspired me by his creativity, his extravagance, his sense of fashion that he was constantly reinventing, by his allure, his elegance and his androgyny."