Wednesday, September 5, 2012


Posted by Bethan Holt, Fashion Junior at Large

Let's get our Bowie on (image from
Oh you pretty things, it's time to reach for the orange eyeliner, spike up your mullet and throw some shapes because David Bowie is back. Not that fashion ever forgot exactly but if recent events are anything to go by, the artist formerly known as Ziggy Stardust is bursting right back into our dressing frame of reference. As with many things fashion, it doesn't stop there because Bowie's entire career is set to be made into a sure-to-be awesome exhibition at the V&A which will be sponsored by Gucci- a hint at what to expect for Frida Giannini's forthcoming SS13 collection?

Bowie in his striped bodysuit by Kansai Yamamoto for the Aladdin Sane tour
 1973 (image from
It first became apparent that there was something Bowie-ish in the air when Sarah Burton presented Alexander McQueen Resort 2013, a collection jam packed with shimmering metallic fabrics and embellishment, slick bell bottoms and matching sharp tailored jackets. As Tim Blanks writes in his review for, "Burton went... back, to Bowie at his most creatively and visually extreme in the mid-seventies". That was the time of Ziggy Stardust, Aladdin Sane and, er, some pretty intense drug use. There are also "banana" trousers which look like Burton's take on Kansai Yamamoto's striped bodysuit from 1973.

Banana trousers and sharp suits with Bowie influences
 from Alexander McQueen AW12 (images from
Then came Miu Miu's AW12 which looks like Chloe Sevigny getting dressed up to go to a David Bowie fancy dress party. It helps that she has that innate boy/girl thing going on which is such a Bowie signature as well as her side slicked, quiff-ish fringe and colour block make-up. The "Behind the Scenes"video is soundtracked by Phantogram, an Indie pop duo who cite Bowie as one of their biggest influences. I love that their name comes from the optical illusion created when two dimensional appears three dimensional in a not dissimilar way to the geometric prints which underpin Miu Miu's latest collection- though they were probably chosen more because they had a great modern Bowie-ish sound which also suited Sevigny's lounging, tea drinking activities in the shots by Mert and Marcus.

One of the things I think the V&A does best is bringing their exhibitions to life with music and video, this was done to great effect with Blade Runner at the at the Postmodernism  show which finished in January this year. David Bowie Is... will include footage of performances and videos as well as artwork, set designs, costumes, photography and much more from the huge Bowie archive which houses over 60,000 objects. Gucci's Frida Giannini says Bowie is "one of my greatest inspirations" so we're hoping for some special contributions from the design house, perhaps more traditionally known for its equestrian heritage and classic luxury aesthetic than rock star associations. Furthermore, as the title suggests, maybe the exhibition will give a broader view of Bowie's genius- as afforded by the incredible archive access the curators will have been privy to- underlining the bits which didn't get quite the attention they deserved the first time around. One thing's for sure, I'll be needing a McQueen banana leg jumpsuit for my visit.

David Bowie Is... runs at the V&A from 23rd March to 28th July 2013. Find out more and get tickets here

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