Put On Your Red Shoes: Remembering David Bowie

By: Asta MacKie

In light of the passing of the great musician and star David Bowie, we begin this semester by paying homage to this icon’s enormous influence in the fashion industry. Known as one of the greatest chameleons of style, Bowie’s many faces can still be seen throughout fashion today– whether it comes in the form of high fashion on the runway or gracing the aisles of Target, as seen in Keanan Duffty’s Bowie line for Target.


David Bowie once famously said “I reinvented my image so many times that I’m in denial that I was originally an overweight Korean woman,” as reported by The Sun.  Whether it was the one legged catsuits of Ziggy Stardust or the androgynous suits of the Thin White Duke, Bowie was constantly redefining his image and embodied countless styles and trends throughout the ‘60s, ‘70s, and ‘80s.


Bowie’s influences in fashion were not limited to the twentieth century, however. We all know at least one person with an anchor tattoo, and you can only guess who originally made that sailor symbol a trend. After David Bowie wore a fake one in his music video “John, I’m Only Dancing,”  Kate Moss, a close friend and huge fan of Bowie, famously sported the tattoo on the cover of Vogue Paris in 2012.  In fact, Kate Moss has graced the covers of Vogue impersonating David Bowie not once, but twice, and since his death has been paying tribute to him with a Bowie-themed birthday party and some fabulous metallic platform boots.


Lady Gaga herself, another eccentrically stylish pop star, has borrowed from Bowie’s image, and flaunted the iconic lightning bolt that Bowie is so famous for in the music video of her first hit single “Just Dance.”


There are many stars today famous for their androgynous image, such as Ruby Rose or model Andrej Pejic. Bowie, along with Prince, was one of the first to break these barriers, and gender fluidity became a huge part of his style and image.  In his “Life On Mars” music video, Bowie pulls off powder blue eye shadow and pink lip gloss better than I could ever dream of doing myself. This iconic look has been often present throughout beauty and fashion spreads.

Bowie accents are easily found on high fashion runways, whether it be in the makeup and hairstyles or in the clothing themselves in both menswear and womenswear.  Balmain’s line exhibited tight fitting, plunging cat suits in 2011, and in 2010, Givenchy almost perfectly replicated Bowie’s black and white striped blazer worn in 1973.

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Everything in Jean Paul Gaultier’s runway show in 2013 embraces David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust era, from the stars to the eye shadow to the iconic bright red mullet.


David Bowie’s death this past month is a crushing loss for the music industry, the fashion world, and for all of us. Just remember him the next time you’re feeling brave enough to go for that blue eye shadow or put on that catsuit, and own it just as well the rock icon himself once did.
Sources: Vogue, The Sun, fashionspotting.com, MTV News, athomeinhollywood.com

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