He was the prettiest star. The shocking news of the loss of David Bowie, leaving the world, his stage, just two days after the release of his Blackstar album on Friday, already has the painful aura of a tragic rock ’n’ roll legend about it. The London boy, born in Brixton on January 8, 1947, made an incalculable impact, reaching far beyond music to change the cultural consciousness of generations.
As tributes flood the media, the fashion world mourns the man whose shape-shifting style inspired the hopes, dreams, and dressing-up courage of generations of teenagers. His power to manipulate image through clothes, makeup, and performance has reverberated through fashion collections, shows, and photography. His every radical change of look is indelibly burned into the encyclopedia of the mind’s eye: from his Ziggy Stardust persona to the stark, Germanic silhouette of the Low album, endlessly adored and recycled, the emotion attached to them never diluted by repetition
It was Bowie who first empowered gender-bending androgyny, the release of his album covers marking sacred milestones in the coming-of-age of everyone who grew up in the ’70s and ’80s. In those days, the work that went into the production of his appearance was never documented, but the million pilgrims who worshipped at the David Bowie altar are in the “David Bowie Is” exhibition, which toured the world from the V&A in 2013 and gave a glimpse of how he did it. Long before fashion was ever thought of as an industry, Bowie was collaborating with designers, egged on by his then-wife Angie Bowie, going to Mr Fish for dresses; Kansai Yamamoto for his Ziggy costumes; and to a young East End tailor from Hackney, Freddie Burretti, for the ice-blue sharp-shouldered suit that appeared in the Life on Mars video made by Mick Rock.
The Ziggy red mullet that launched a million imitators was inspired by a fashion shoot on the cover of Honey magazine of a model wearing Kansai Yamamoto. Bowie went around to his mother’s hairdresser, Suzy Fussey, who worked in a salon on Beckenham High Street, to do the cut and color. He was wearing it the day he walked into Brian Duffy’s studio to shoot the cover of the Aladdin Sanealbum in 1973. Celia Philo (Phoebe Philo’s mother), who was art directing, remembers the spontaneous moment when Bowie conspired with his favorite makeup artist, Pierre La Roche, to paint on the lightning flash.
It lives on, as David Bowie himself does today, in immortality.
Culled from Vogue.com