David Bowie’s androgynous onstage style is almost as memorable as his music.
In honor of what would have been his 74th birthday, we’re taking a look back at some of his wildest onstage show looks.
From high heels to thigh-high boots, one thing’s for sure: Bowie was never afraid to take a risk. Aside from funk musicians like George Clinton and Bootsy Collins as well as punk rockers like the New York Dolls, who graced the stage in outrageous costumes and platform shoes, Bowie was among one of the first male stars to embrace the all-glam look.
Stepping out for a 1970 concert, the “Under Pressure” singer wore a silky button-down shirt with sparkly tights. He completed his look with scrunched-up leather boots that show off an elevated heel.
Bowie was among the performers of the 1970s who carried on the tradition of men in heels. The style was initially embraced by Persian cavalrymen of the 10th century and eventually was embraced by European royals of the 17th century. By the 1970s, heeled boots became a staple for rockstars who embraced the rebellious, androgynous look.
Performing as Ziggy Stardust during a 1972 London performance, Bowie took to the stage in a long-sleeved embroidered white minidress and matching thigh-highs. The slouchy boots featured an exaggerated pointed toe and laced up at the back.
During the ’70s, crazy lace-ups were also a staple of the “Space Oddity” entertainer’s wardrobe. At a 1972 appearance in London, Bowie wore form-fitting silky pants with a floral shirt, left unbuttoned to reveal his bare chest. He completed the androgynous look with white lace-up boots that showed off a 1 inch heel.
But Bowie’s out-there looks weren’t limited to his heyday in the ’70s.
Throughout his music career, he embraced the boldest of fashions. On his 1987 “Glass Spider” tour, Bowie brought down the house in a head-to-toe red ensemble. The actor stepped out in a suit and Chelsea boots, which featured silver detailing at the heel and toe.
The music legend selected red shoes once again for a 1991 London performance. He paired a black and gold quilted jacket with bright blue jeans and shiny red platforms.
For a 1996 appearance at the Brit Awards in London, he gave a boring suit an upgrade with his footwear, selecting a pair of leather kitten heels that were perfect for bouncing around the stage.
Bowie’s legacy not only continues to influence music but the worlds of fashion and footwear, as well. From Jean Paul Gautier to Marc Jacobs, the late musician serves as a symbol of self-expression on the runways.
So Happy Birthday David Bowie, a music and style icon whose spirit continues to live on.
Looking for a closer look at David Bowie’s radical shoe collection? Click through the gallery for more of David Bowie’s Celebrity Shoe Style.