While the news of David Bowie’s passing marks the end of an era in music and culture, his influence will undoubtedly live on. And nowhere is his shape-shifter style more memorable than his unique, often-emulated fashion sense.
A renegade who created alter egos to complement his music, Bowie never stopped experimenting with avant garde clothes and footwear. Where others were measured or manufactured, he was a fearless original who shot from his slim androgynous hip, using a special shoe or statement ensemble as an extension of his indelible art.
His early ’70s incarnation, Ziggy Stardust, had a love of star-spangled and glittery boots. Bowie had said he took cues from sci-fi novels and Japanese theater. Everyone from Tommy Hilfiger to Marc Jacobs and Jean Paul Gaultier has shown their version of Ziggy. On the red carpet and off, Cara Delevingne and Chiara Ferragni have worn looks in this vein.
The Halloween Jack persona Bowie debuted with his album “Diamond Dogs” in 1974 came complete with rebellious heeled boots, which Hedi Slimane channeled for the Saint Laurent men’s fall ’15 runway.
In 1976, Bowie unveiled The Thin White Duke, which inspired a whole generation to embrace a more sleekly suited and booted sensibility with a futuristic twist. Runways from Celine to Chanel and Balmain have shown collections that riffed on this theme. And Carine Roitfeld often dresses in a style not unlike this. The footwear was often all-white, block-heeled or platformed. Laurence Dacade did a pair of boots in an apparent homage for spring ’16.
Even off stage, Bowie always cut a clean, glitzy line with an appreciation for boundary-pushing, utterly fantastic tailoring. Today, Tilda Swinton often comes close to his level of cool, with her own austere spin and statement shoes.
Indeed, when it comes to footwear, the Bowie mantra was always to keep them guessing.
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