To some, David Bowie was a music icon. To others, he was a fashion game changer. To most of us, he was both. Because he was. David Bowie was a fashion and style influencer, thanks to his gender-bending and androgynous personas and alter egos, like the infamous Ziggy Stardust. He had an eye for colors, shapes, and details, especially in his stage attire. So many of his looks are unforgettable and artists who came after him, like Lady Gaga, Lorde, and Janelle Monae, to name a few, were influenced by and took their own inspo from his look in one way or another.
Bowie passed away from cancer on Jan. 10 at the age of 69, just two days after his birthday. The artist was reportedly battling the disease for 18 months.
While Bowie is no longer with us on this plane, he certainly leaves behind a rich legacy of music that will endure for generations to come. He also left his mark on fashion. He didn't adhere to anyone else's rules or standards and wasn't afraid to embrace his feminine side when it came to his performance ensembles.
Bowie's status as a fashion influencer will also extend well beyond his life.
These are 13 of Bowie's most influential looks, in no particular order.
1. The Spiky Mullet
In 1973, Bowie rocked a spiky, red mullet and glossed lips on the cover of his Pin Ups album. This look spilled into the '80s. It's clear that singer Annie Lennox looked to Bowie during her Eurhythmics era. His hair also likely inspired Cher's '80s mullets, too! How could it not?
2. Ziggy Stardust
In case you need to make his official acquaintance, this is Ziggy Stardust in all of his glory. His look is instantly recognizable and that made it influential. The album landed in 1972.
3. Ziggy Stardust's Woodland Creatures
Bowie looked like an elegant ballerina in his Woodland Creatures bodysuit, designed by Kansai Yamamoto.
4. Union Jack
It was a Union "Jack-et," worn in 1996. Many young and modern artists have gone on to incorporate the pattern into stage looks. Even Taylor Swift, who is American, did it!
5. Street Style
Think this is a basic, coordinated jacket with jeans? Pft! Think again. This looks like something far younger artists, like Justin Bieber and Kanye West, have also worn. They incorporated street style into stagewear, too. So there's that.
6. Matchy Matchy
Where to start? Bared chests were pretty common among rockers in the 1970s. But Bowie went all matchy matchy with his outfit and his newsboy cap. Britney Spears and Missy Elliott were all about these hats in later decades.
7. Jumpsuit For Joy
The jumpsuit is an enduring silhouette in fashion. Bowie was all about it back in the early '70s. It really highlighted his slender frame.
8. Angel of Death
This was Bowie's "Angel of Death" costume, a mixture of feathers and leather. Again, this looks like a source of inspo for a lot of things that Lady Gaga and Cher have worn.
9. Pirate Chic
Bowie donned a lot of look back in 1974 with his eye patch and floods. But notice the scarf and suspenders. I can't help but wonder if this somehow inspired Elle Driver, the eyepatch-wearer in Kill Bill, even on the most subtle level. Perhaps even Captain Jack Sparrow took inspo in a non-obvious way?
10. Satin Stardust
Ziggy Stardust wasn't solely about the heavy cheek blush and the mullet. He was also about volume and sheen.
11. Gold Lame Is Not Lame
Bowie's big, '80s feathered hair and gold lame bomber fell in line with the times. Satin bombers were so big in this decade. But Bowie's was on a whole other level. Any pop star working today could don this and make it work. Like, say, Rihanna.
12. His Type Of Black Leather Jacket
Black leather jackets are a basic, but they are also a rock star basic. Bowie's had huge lapels and a cracked texture. It reminds all who look at it that basics could be jacked up several notches thanks to the details.
13. Aladdin Sane
The rainbow-hued thunderbolt over his eye on the cover of his 1973 album Aladdin Sane was another influential look that showcased makeup as art and as definitive. Any Average Joe or Jane could copy this look for Halloween and everyone would know who it is.
Image: Courtesy RCA (2)