BOWIE WEEK: TOURS OF THE EARLY ’70s
Moonage daydream, a brightly-coloured David Bowie documentary by Brett Morgen is coming out later this week, which delves deep into an archive of 5 million items. The result; a kaleidoscopic, audiovisual dreamscape of the other-worldly icon.
In anticipation, we’ve been looking through our favourite looks (to say there is a lot to choose from would be an understatement) and what has grabbed our attention most was his on-stage looks from the early-to-mid-seventies. In a time before google or instagram, the stage would have been the place to go to express your identity and new creative ideas, and the albums and tours were where the fans would go for visual inspiration.
We begin in 1970, with a gig at The Roundhouse, where Bowie separated himself from the long-haired hippy of the late ‘60s, and began the glam rock love affair of the early ‘70s.
By 1973, Bowie’s career had skyrocketed, and was touring the world as Ziggy Stardust. This sparkled, striped bodysuit by Kansai Yamamoto was worn at the Hammersmith Odeon, where Bowie famously shocked the audience by announcing Ziggy would never perform again… talk about a Rock’n’Roll Suicide!
The next two looks were worn in the latter-half of 1973 for the 180 Floor Show, filmed at The Marquee in London. He still is donning the bright red Ziggy Stardust hair, contrasting strongly against this monochromatic, double breasted suit, which almost appears to glow.
The next look of a fishnet (or maybe crochet?) body suit and disembodied hands was censored on American TV at the time for being too ‘subversive’. In an interview Bowie discusses this get up, but can’t remember what song he wore it for, saying “It’s funny that I can remember the costume and not the song, totally indicative of what the time was like.”
It didn’t slow down for Bowie from here. The 5th look shows Bowie at Madison Square Garden, an image which was then used for the cover of his David Live album. This perfectly tailored suit was one he bought back in a later tour in 1985.
Our final choice was an image from his Young American tour in ’76. Post-Ziggy and Aladdin Sane, the persona of the Thin White Duke was born in his album Station to Station. The Duke was less other-worldly (although still a far-cry from Bowie himself), was controversial in his opinions and largely fuelled and sustained by Bowie’s substance abuse at the time. Well-groomed, blonde hair with black trousers, waist-coat and a white loose shirt, the character was described as a “mad aristocrat” and “an amoral zombie” – Bowie himself said he was “an ogre” and “a nasty character indeed”. Controversial as the persona was, the Thin White Duke’s sartorial look influenced many designers to come.
Read about Morgen’s mind-blowing doc here >>