Like legions of people around the world, String Yarns is mourning the passing of fashion and music icon, David Bowie.
It’s impossible to properly encapsulate Bowie’s deep and abiding influence on fashion. Like his song, he was all Sound and Vision—wonderful to hear, and a sight to behold. He was relentlessly chameleonic, yet somehow steadfastly authentic—a feat difficult to achieve. Bowie transcended genres, redefined them, embraced then sloughed them off for bold, new skin. He was one of a select few artists who never felt like a caricature of himself; he created a brand without ever feeling branded. It’s almost impossible to link to all the articles proclaiming him one of fashion’s greatest influencers (The New York Times has a pretty good primer for the unfamiliar).
The dazzling glam-rock era of Ziggy Stardust and Alladin Sane (seen above and below middle in Kansai Yamamoto's knitted catsuits) still influences today’s designers, as seen in the futuristic jumpsuits of Christophe Decarnin and Jean Paul Gaultier (bottom left, top to bottom), and most recently in the pages of one of our industry’s magazines. The Fall 2015 issue of Knitscene produced the Oddity Scarf—every Bowie fan immediately recognizes the signature Ziggy lightning bolt; Kate Moss even wore it for the cover of Vogue.
Clockwise from top left: Christophe Decarnin 2011; David Bowie with Kansai Yamamoto; Vogue UK May 2003; Fall 2015 Knitscene Oddity Scarf; Jean Paul Gaultier SS2013
Bowie’s period as The Thin White Duke in the late 70s was no less influential, but was, by comparison, far simpler, deeply elegant, and certainly more sophisticated. The Thin White Duke’s album cover for Heroes was directly lifted by Jun Takahashi for his FW 2015 collection (below, bottom left), and Dries van Noten’s Fall 2011 runway show was set to the song “Golden Years.” Bowie’s classic, masculine styling is still imitated and embraced by many as a timeless standard of high fashion.
Clockwise from top left: Saint Laurent SS2014; David Bowie as the Thin White Duke, Berlin, 1974; Jean Paul Gaultier SS2013; Richard Nicoll Spring 2011; Salvatore Ferragamo; David Bowie by Greg Gorman; Jun Takahashi FW2015; Dries van Noten Fall 2011.
It’s hard to process news as devastating as David Bowie’s passing. A fierce, yet effortless individual, his presence in our lives was striking, and like the otherworldly, alien life force to which he was so often referred, he seemed immortal. By virtue of his defiantly unique personality, David Bowie gave everyone in the world permission to be weird, different, one-of-a-kind.
Planet earth is blue, indeed, but there is something we can do.
String Yarns bids David Bowie a fond farewell, and asks our friends and fans: How did Bowie impact your life? Did he influence your wardrobe, and how?
We’d love to hear your stories and remembrances as we push through this sadness. Farewell, Starman, and thank you.