The irreplaceable and enigmatic David Bowie passed away on January 10, 2016. Collectively, the world seems to be still reeling with agonizing sorrow in the mourning of a music legend. From completely shifting and disintegrating culture norms with his music, to polarizing when delving into androgynous fashion, Bowie represents the truly rebellious artist on a quest for artistic excellence. His connection to the hip hop art form was a strong one as Bowie studied and enjoyed the music genre since its inception. David went as far as to sharply question MTV on their treatment of the black race on live TV, also exclaiming in 1993 that “the only people in the music industry who were being truly creative are the rappers”. Around the time of his passing, Bowie was listening to a lot of Kendrick Lamar’s excellent musical triumph To Pimp a Butterfly and close music partner Tony Visconti cited the work as somewhat of a musical influence on his David’s swan song album BlackStar. David Bowie had a comprehension of hip hop that should be commended.
The crux of hip hop fashion in 2016 is extravagant and attention inducing presentation, which is exactly what Bowie found himself fond of. Donning eye-catching garbs that always related to his hair, sometimes makeup and overall image, Bowie was constantly interested in trying new aesthetics. Kanye West’s homage tweet reads “David Bowie was one of my most important inspirations, so fearless, so creative, he gave us magic for a lifetime”. The way in which Bowie pulled from what was trendy and current from the most exciting corners of the culture and used them on his persona, West strives to mimic. From year to year, Bowie’s character changed as do artists such as Kanye West, yet David may have been the single greatest entity of consistently new musical persona formation. Here, we take a look back at just a few of the best stylistic self inventions Bowie came up with over the years.
Bowie performed in 1966 at Wembley Studios in London with his then-band, The Buzz utilizing the massively popular and rampantly adopted “mod” look. While at points in his career completely gaudy and flamboyant, many of Bowies looks were noticeably toned down. Metallic silvers and a space age wardrobe transformed Bowie into the embodiment of his first hit single “Space Oddity”. In January 1969, he donned a silver metallic zip through coat for the song’s portion within the promo film, Love You Till Tuesday. Simultaneous to his mod haircut, Bowie rocked a disheveled hairdo that also embraced a trending styling of the period.