There’s no question that 2013 is Bowie’s year. It was kicked off with the release of ‘The Next Day’ and studded with his recent retrospective at London’s V&A. Fashion has gleefully welcomed the opportunity to revisit Bowie’s fashscapades, from Jean Paul Gaultier’s SS13 Ziggy replicas to the modern dandy look that started with Miu Miu and is now powering down the high street ladder. It was Raf Simons’ turn for AW13: though his established silhouette owes heavily to the slender suits of the Diamond Dogs tour days, this time the designer paid homage to the ‘Let’s Dance era’ with fuller-cut suit jackets and pants. The reference was tipped with the featuring of ‘Modern Love’ as the finale to the show soundtrack.
This year even saw Bowie highlighting his own influence in the androgynous movement, featuring Tilda Swinton, Andrej Pejic and Saskia de Brauw in the bizarre clip for 'The Stars (Are Out Tonight)'. Bowie’s lyrics cry out to ‘the stars’ – ‘Here they are upon the stairs / Sexless and not aware’ – referencing them as the genderless shadows of his limelit past.
The oldest shadow pre-curses even Ziggy, when Bowie was already identifying with something neither male nor female. He famously jaunted 1970’s ‘The Man Who Sold The World’ media trail in a dress, Rolling Stone’s John Mendelsohn describing him as “ravishing, almost disconcertingly reminiscent of Lauren Bacall”. From there, a feminine dandyism evolved, encapsulated by the iconic blue suit, slim to the point that it had to be let out two inches when Kate Moss gave it a whirl in British Vogue’s 2003 Bowie tribute. Neckerchiefs and silk blouses began to frame the Ziggy Stardust era, while scantily cut bodysuits, crotch-gripping pants and theatrical make-up took the character beyond human.