Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Closets I'd Love to Raid: David Bowie and his Alter-Egos

  David Bowie is a major figure in the musical industry, and since the mid-1960's he has been revolutionizing the sounds of modern music. His work in the 1970's, however, is often seen as his most ground-breaking and innovating. Even though his music is a large part of his image, his style definitely takes the cake.
  Bowie is also known for his alter-egos. His most famous one, Ziggy Stardust, emerged in 1972 during a very early beginning of the glam rock era that so-famously took over the 1970's. Below I've given a list of several of Bowie's biggest alter-egos and how you can dress like them.

Ziggy Stardust
  Obviously Bowie's most famous ego, Ziggy Stardust was created in 1972 for the cleverly named album, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. Ziggy is the human manifestation of an alien. He is attempting to give humanity a "message of hope in the last five years of its existence." Although Ziggy's message is positive, the character himself is the ultimate rock star: he is sexually promiscuous and a near drug addict, and eventually, he is destroyed by the fans he inspired. His tale is tragic, but his fashion sense remains strong.
  You don't have to paint a giant gold circle in the middle of your forehead in order to become Ziggy, but his other fashion styles remain a bit odd. Being a rock star, he dresses mainly in flamboyant arrays of stripes, gold, and glitter. He sometimes wears large boots in an almost go-go sense, padded shoulders, shirts that expose his chest, and tight pants. His fashion may not be one to wear to school, but its one that surely shows off the most exciting part of its era.

Aladdin Sane
  Aladdin Sane is the followup album to Ziggy's and was released in 1973.  The title itself is a play on words of "A lad insane." Bowie himself described Aladdin Sane as simply "Ziggy goes to America." Also inn Bowie's words, Aladdin Sane comes from "wanting to be up on the stage performing my songs, but on the other hand not really wanting to be on those buses with all those strange people... So Aladdin Sane was split down the middle." This kind of "schizophrenia," as Bowie describes it, was conveyed on the cover by his makeup, where a lightning bolt represents the duality of mind, although he would later tell friends that the "lad insane" of the album's title track was inspired by his brother Terry, who had been diagnosed as a schizophrenic. (I'm sorry, I got lazy and copied most of this from Wikipedia!)
  Unfortunately Aladdin doesn't wear too much besides his signature lightning bolt eye makeup. But his hair and dazzling facial designs help to shape him as a character and make him yet another one of Bowie's signature characters.

Halloween Jack
  Halloween Jack is from David Bowie's 1974 concept album, Diamond Dogs. Halloween Jack was described as a "real cool cat" who lived in the decaying and dead "Hunger City." Although Halloween Jack isn't described too much as a character, you can clearly see the Ziggy Stardust influence through Bowie's hairstyle and glam rock attitude.
  Halloween Jack is dressed quite similarly to Ziggy in the sense that they both dress like glam rock stars. Glitter is evident in both of their outfits of choice as well as multiple colors, lots of material (scarves, multiple layers, etc.), and a flamboyance. However, Halloween Jack provides his outfit with an eye patch to give glow to that sort of Halloween-esque.
The Thin White Duke
  The Thin White Duke takes his name from the title track of his 1976 album Station to Station, in which the Thin White Duke is mentioned. He typically dressed in white shirt, black pants, and a waistcoat. He was a man who "sang songs of romance with an agonized intensity while feeling nothing." The Duke was a hollow man who sang songs of romance with an agonised intensity while feeling nothing," or "ice masquerading as fire." For Bowie himself, The Duke was "a nasty character indeed," and later, "an ogre for me."
  Although the Duke is a negative character, he does dress quite fashionably. Apparently at this time in Bowie's life, he said that he lived on "red peppers, cocaine, and milk," leaving him skinny as ever and physically fragile. He hate replaced his signature red mullet with sleeked back cut, the red dye fading to his natural blonde locks.
  Overall, Bowie's famous personas have rocked the world. Although these are only a few, their fashions and attitudes have shaped the glam rock world and musical generations yet to come. Hopefully this article will teach you how to perfect your Bowie costume for Halloween next year!

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