‘David Bowie: The man who thrilled the world.’, ‘His death was a work of art.’, ‘He gave us magic for a lifetime.’ – are just a few of the headlines we’ve been reading for the past three days, since one of the greatest music and fashion legends has passed away, at the age of 69, on Sunday, after his birthday and the release of his latest and last album ‘Blackstar.’
Not a line in the world, not a song in a billion could ever sum up the brilliance of Mr. David Bowie.
From his music, ever since he came into the scene in the 60s, to his fashions, to his demeanour, to his way of beautifully giving a finger to all the rules out there, and not cause of some rebellious necessity, but cause of a creativity and hunger and necessity that was part of him throughout his entire career and life, David Bowie will probably remain one of the strongest icons out there.
He swirled us, and swept us off our feet, and shocked us, and opened our eyes with every song and every decade. His most memorable persona and alter ego – Ziggy Stardust – was one of the first lessons in understanding that creativity and art in music, do not end and begin with only songs and lyrics. He took inspiration from Alice Cooper, Japanese culture, or A Clockwork Orange.
I mean who could forget that zig-zag pattern jumpsuit designed by Kansai Yamamoto.
“I’d never seen a performance like it. When the show started, he came down from the ceiling, wearing clothes I had designed. Then there was a movement that often occurs in kabuki, which is called hikinuki, where somebody is wearing one costume and it is stripped off, immediately revealing what is underneath. So he was wearing all black and then all of a sudden that disappeared, and he was wearing full colour. It was very dramatic, and the audience all rose to their feet, so there was a standing ovation right at the beginning. My clothes were normally made for professional models – this was the first time they had been used for an artist or singer. It felt like the beginning of a new age.” (Yamamoto for The Guardian)
Before that, in the 60s there was David Bowie the MOD, and after that The White Duke, his dandyish look inspired by his alien character in the film ‘The Man Who Fell To Earth’.
And then there was of course the glam rock side of Bowie, with his glitter, and makeup, and jewellery, and sky high heels, and platforms, and women’s attire.
He introduced androgynism in mainstream, and made it okay for anyone who was not feeling in conformity with society’s rules at the time, to be themselves. He opened eyes and minds through art, giving us the idea through his looks and style that maybe, just maybe sexuality is not this idea we’ve been living with, but something way more wide and flexible. THIS precise courage born out of creativity and not some sort of necessity to shock paved the way for some great fashions to this day. It made history in pop culture, it made it ok to be different and yourself however further that may be from the idea of normality.
Have fun, and don’t bother with the rest seemed to have been the only mantra. You’re a guy who loves eyeliner, wear it. You’re a woman who adores man’s clothes, drape yourself in them.
“I was living in Paris when I first experienced Bowie’s music, and the influence was instant and permanent, (…) there was a sense of ambiguity and originality that was incredible at the time… I remember going to gay bars in London that Bowie was known to frequent and it gave many of us courage not to hide, to have confidence in ourselves.’ (Jean Paul Gaultier for Out Magazine.)
From Heidi Slimane, to Gaultier, to Balmain, to every single designer – there was a sense of Bowie in most creations, if not per se, than subconsciously.
He came in a time when reaching people was not very easy, yet he did more in terms of culture and art, than any would have done with all the means in the world. From blurring gender lines and sexually, to over-the-top fashions, to psychedelic riffs, to beautifully crafted lines, to wild hair and fabulous makeup, to shocking looks – he influenced and changed generations.
What I mostly love about Bowie is that he did all this with the most beautiful freedom and apparent careless feeling in the world. Simply because it spoke to him. He took, and stole, and inspired himself and allowed himself to change, and distort, and chameleon, and reinvent himself with no fear of losing anything.
One decade he was in dandy suits, the next he was in women’s dresses, the next he was in hats, chain smoking and partying, the next he was growing a beard and long hair. Who was he? All the above, and a very very charming man on top of it.
I’ve never ever in my life enjoyed reminiscing over something and somebody so much. Looking at all his photos, reading about him, while his music plays in the background for the past 2 days… I feel I barely even scratched the surface here. To hell with it though… this exact thing is precisely why the man is pure magic. He gave us too much to ever consume and inhale in a lifetime, keeping us constantly in awe and insatiable. And for that we thank him.
Let the scroll down take you to some other world, where David Bowie was superhuman as he always said he wanted to be, and d’you know what – he truly was. Perhaps not to all. But to some, and hopefully many he will continue to be magic.
His music alongside his quotes and others quotes about him, especially these days, are simply food for soul.
‘(…) you pulled us in and left your arm dangling over our necks, and kept us warm.’ – Tilda Swinton on Bowie (The Guardian)
‘Look up here. I’m in heaven’ – David Bowie, Lazarus
‘I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I promise it won’t be boring.’ – David Bowie
RIP David Bowie.