David Bowie remains an inspiration for breaking the mould, trying things new, dressing & expressing sexuality and style whilst challenging mindsets. The exhibition at the V&A museum was extraordinary and truly shows what a creative genius this man is.
The exhibition has sold a record 47,000 tickets & I was lucky to get access for the first week-end of opening. Even if you aren’t a fan of Bowie’s music, I highly recommend going as it literally brought historical events to life & was a very deep and personal journey from Bowie as a youngster, though to Ziggy’s final farewell show that was projected on giant screens with his costumes illuminating through the gauze. I must admit it was a brain overload of visual information that made me feel as if I’d walked into the mind of a creative genius. From his hand written lyrics and drawings, video and news footage, his many influences, his alter ego (Ziggy Stardust)…and of course the fashion.
Here are a few of the 60x pieces that were showcased….
The quilted fabric suit he wore on Top of the Pops 6th July 1972 was inspired by the film the Clockwork Orange which Bowie described as “ultra violence in liberty fabrics.”
Rabbit bodysuit which was inspired by woodland creatures in the Japanese Kabuki theatre which Bowies called an “impossibly silly bunny costume.”
Union Jack coat was designed by Alexander McQueen in 1997. McQueen was then only a recent graduate, and this jacket was designed to marry British tailoring with punk.
The cobweb outfit with fake gold hands he wore for the 1980 Floor Show was my favourite as he apparently was told to remove the gold hand that was holding his crotch due to the TV censorship. But little did they know (until it was too late) that by removing the hand it revealed a LOT more!
Linen trousers & shirt for his 1995 Outside Tour was created to capture the sinister & tribal aspects of humanity approaching the millennium.
1995 Bowie designed a wallpaper design for Laura Ashley which, in his original design, showed a fully naked body which had to have the genitals censored. Bowie apparently joked that after similar censorship with his Diamond Dog and Tin Machine II album covers, this was his “third castration.”
Clown costume was inspired by Pierrots, the alter ego if the artist which shouldn’t be questioned, analysed or taken too seriously. (Try Googling Pierrot)
The pointed shoulders outfit was designed by Floria Sigismondi (who also designed for Marilyn Manson) and was meant to be a theatrical, strikingly visual piece whilst revealing a poetic and sometimes macabre world.
Asymmetric catsuit was designed by Yamamoto during Bowie’s 1973 tour and was based on the exotic glamour of the Japanese theatre and fashion. “A blueprint for being the alien. Someone we don’t understand but who has something to tell us.”
Distressed flock coat was designed by Alexander McQueen in 1995 when he had only just graduated from Central St Martins. Bowie was McQueen’s first celebrity client & all business between the two for this outfit was conducted purely over the phone.
I was SO inspired after visiting this exhibition. It showed that against all the odds Bowie never gave up, he fought against the norm & remains true to his creative self . Bowie isn’t just a rock legend, he is an influential cultural icon and if you don’t believe me, then check out the exhibition yourself.
V&A Museum, London till 11th Aug 2013.