By Olivia Anton
When I woke up Monday morning and heard the news that David Bowie died at only sixty-nine years old, I felt a great sadness. I listened to Bowie throughout my childhood. I remember car rides with my dad listening to Bowie’s classics, “Ziggy Stardust,” “Changes,” “Heroes,” “Rebel Rebel,” and “Under Pressure.” Bowie was truly an amazing musician. It wasn’t until I was older that I realized he was a huge fashion inspiration.
Bowie pushed the limits when it came to fashion and was one of the original gender benders. His androgynous style was inspiring to thousands around the world. In Bowie’s famous song “Rebel, Rebel,” he sings “You’ve got your mother in a whirl ‘cause she’s not sure if you’re a boy or a girl.” Bowie made androgyny and self-acceptance cool and stylish. Bowie also experimented with over-the top, theatrical make-up. Many of us known Bowie for the large red lightning bolt that was on his album, Aladdin Sane. Bowie was very avant-garde for the time and became one of the most famous pop, rock icons.
Bowie was also one of the first musicians to create alter-egos. In the 1970’s he created his persona, Ziggy Stardust, who had fiery red hair and looked like a theatrical wildly dressed alien. The outfits were very space age looking. Ziggy Stardust was flamboyant, colorful, sexual. He wore tight, sparkly jumpsuits, platform boots and bold colorful make-up. His style paved the way for people that couldn’t fit into men or women’s styles. Bowie’s other famous persona was, Thin White Duke, who was the complete opposite of Ziggy Stardust. Thin White Duke had slick blond hair and wore a white button up and black pants. He was very monochromatic. Bowie’s alter egos were true inspiration and blurred the line between sexes, which was very different during the time. This has inspired other artists such as, Lady Gaga and Bjork, who both use their music to create certain personas and fashion.
As I’m writing this, Bowie is playing in the background and I find myself getting emotional. His songs remind me of certain moments in my life. Those car rides with my dad, listening to Bowie in my dorm room, dancing to “Under Pressure” at a party or blasting “Heroes,” while driving down the highway. Bowie was a true inspiration in music and fashion and inspired gender acceptance and gender-bending in style. He pushed the limits and was a creative visionary who has impacted the music and fashion industry forever. Thank you David Bowie for impacting my life with your music.
“I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I promise it won’t be boring.” – David Bowie