David Bowie was Ziggy Stardust, Aladdin Sane, The Thin White Duke. A dapper gentleman and a stylish freak. During his life, he was as much as fashion innovator as a musical vanguard. Following his passing, we are taking a fashion trip through a career that raised eyebrows and launched trends.
Written by Gary Graff
March 4, 1966
Ready, steady, going...Bowie, not far removed from being David Jones, Bowie takes the British TV in a natty suit that would allow him to return to university, or an accounting job, after he finished singing.
Is that a woman or a...This "Hunky Dory" portrait gave the world an early taste of Bowie's gender-blending ambitions, though it would be viewed as tame considering what came later. You might have had an aunt that looked like this during the early 70s. "Queen Bitch," indeed.
April 24, 1972
Bowie struck an androgynous beatnik safari look during this 1972 session, just a couple of months before Ziggy Stardust would arrive. The jacket and pants may have subsequently turned into new upholstery for one of his couches.
The Mars men have landed! Bowie preens in full Ziggy Stardust glam, but where ARE the Spiders?!
A couple of boogaloo dudes share a moment of fellowship just as each was embarking on new creative vistas in their respective careers. This is one of those moments when you have to wonder what Stevie would have thought if he could see what was standing next to him.
The bare necessities; Ziggy goes minimalist onstage. Fans pool together to buy the guy a cheeseburger, but his album is Top 5 in the U.K. and making waves across the pond.
A well-wrapped Ziggy mimes his way through a show in Los Angeles. Spiders From Mars bassist Trevor Bolder wonders if the Banana Splits might need him after the tour's over.
Bowie plays with color, symmetry and a slightly revised coif -- as well as a seriously pensive demeanor -- in this latter-period Ziggy shot.
All whites in the autumn? In some quarters, this was probably considered Bowie's MOST controversial look at the time.
July 3, 1973
Boots and glitter for Ziggy's last night on earth, at London's Hammersmith Odeon. Good night, and good luck....
July 3, 1973
Pretty ballerina? Bowie was certainly on his toes for Ziggy's festive final fling at the Hammersmith Odeon.
February 6, 1974
Bowie finds his inner buccaneer while performing "Rebel Rebel" on Dutch TV. Adam and the rest of the Ants were taking notes.
October 1, 1974
A Diamond Dog, without the bling. Bowie's most "normal" look of the decade would not have been out of place in “Idlewild” -- and wasn't at the Apollo.
February 28, 1975
The Dynamic Duo -- and a Beatle. Just kidding. Bowie and Lennon are black-and-white matches at the 1975 Grammy Awards ceremony, with the Thin White Duke looking particularly skeletal.
This 1976 portrait catches Bowie at a fashion crossroads, somewhere between the Thin White Duke and the bohemian casual of his early days in Berlin.
April 29, 1976
The Thin White Duke as a swashbuckler, with scarf and full, flowing shirt, during a 1976 show in Copenhagen.
The Lodger and The Idiot -- just a couple of gents kicking back in Berlin, dressing casual but making some serious music.
A chilly, combat-ready look during a 1978 tour stop at Madison Square Garden. Put a parachute on him and the guy's ready to pilot a V-2 Schneider.
August 28, 1978
Donning the linen look onstage in London during 1978. Admiral Halsey on top (??), monk below. A unique vision to go with the sound at London's Earl's Court.
The Thin White Duke joins the Rat Pack, tipping his hat to Sinatra during 1983's theatrical Serious Moonlight World Tour.
One has to wonder what took longer -- singing "Let's Dance" or undoing all the buttons on these slacks during the Serious Moonlight World Tour.
August 3, 1983
Things were just peachy for Bowie in 1983, with "Let's Dance" bringing him back to the pop mainstream like never before and the Serious Moonlight tour packing 'em into arenas around the world.
If we wondered what Ziggy Stardust might have looked like a decade later, this edgy number from the Serious Moonlight show was a pretty good approximation.
Alas, poor Yorick. The caped "Cracked Actor" sings to his biggest fan during the Serious Moonlight tour. One day he'll learn how to tie that bow around his neck.
That smug look on Bowie's face? We bet he’s realizing how much better he dresses than most of his audience.
Having a trench coat cover your legs when meeting Tina Turner during the late ‘80s is wise. After all, can you really compete with hers?
July 13, 1985
A pair of well-dressed British rock icons at Live Aid in 1985. They'd be on stage together for "Let It Be" at the end of the show.
June 19, 1987
Everything was big about the Glass Spider Tour in 1987 -- including the venues, the hair, the sleeves and the shoulders.
One of the more understated outfits from the Glass Spider Tour, although still bright enough to help small aircraft find a landing strip if necessary.
Appropriately sober attire, with wife Iman, at the "Symphony of Hope" World AIDS Day concert in 1997 at London's Wembley Stadium.
September 21, 1991
Pretty in pink; a comfortable Bowie, otherwise occupied with his noise rock outfit Tin Machine, performs at a 1991 radio station concert in Paris.
November 1, 1995
A buff Bowie adopts his version of rugged but still stylish industrial couture for his 1995 Outside Tour with Nine Inch Nails.
July 18, 1996
A spider from Mars becomes an Earthling; Bowie indelibly branded his 1997 release with the coat he sported on the album cover and during the nearly six-month tour to support it.
January 9, 1997
Bowie, with Iman, sports a less garish version of the "Earthling" cover jacket for his 50th birthday concert on January 9, 1997 at Madison Square Garden (a day after the actual milestone).
July 20, 1997
East meets West: Classic Asian-Oriental garb sets off a decidedly modern 12-string guitar at the Phoenix Festival on July 20, 1997 in Britain.
Apparently Trent Reznor didn't get the memo about wearing something to match the jalopy for this 1997 photo shoot.
August 1, 1998
Happy loving couple: Bowie and Iman caught in August 1998, looking nothing but their best for the camera.
September 9, 1999
Dressed down: a contemporary bohemian look to introduce Lauryn Hill during the 1999 MTV Music Video Awards at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City's Lincoln Center.
June 25, 2000
Bowie was apparently coveting a part in "Interview With a Vampire" when he performed at the 2000 Glastonbury Festival.
October 20, 2001
"Heroes" for heroes: an elegantly unkempt Bowie kicks it backstage during the Concert For New York in 2001 at Madison Square Garden.
June 11, 2002
Neatly suited and ready to rock during a 2002 Heathen Tour stop in New York, but forgive us if the facial expression reminds us of Jon Bon Jovi.
June 11, 2002
Bowie gets the red out during his 2002 Roseland Ballroom performance during the Heathen Tour.
October 3, 2002
The body becomes electric. At least that’s the way the lights hitting this sharply tailored, “Soul Train"-ready outfit Bowie sported during Heathen Tour stop at London's Hammersmith Apollo make it look.
October 16, 2002
Love the jacket, but Bowie apparently forgot to change out of his pajama bottoms for his performance at the 2002 GQ Man of the Year Awards in New York City.
December 15, 2003
A somewhat utilitarian look for the 2003 Reality Tour. Rip off the scarf and Bowie can run right to the rugby pitch and line up on the wing.
September 8, 2005
There's no doubt that Gwen Stefani was stoked to be posing with an open-necked but still stylish (and healthy looking) Bowie during the 2005 Fashion Rocks event at New York's Radio City Music Hall.
September 25, 2006
Bowie was well into his hibernation when he and Iman stepped out for opening night of the 2006-2007 season of the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. Black, of course, always goes well with red carpet.
May 19, 2007
Thin, white and regal: Bowie dons a gentlemanly tux to present the H&M High Line Festival in 2007, one of his increasingly rare public appearances.
June 7, 2010
The height of elegance: a still-in-hiatus Bowie and Iman step out for the 2010 CFDA Fashion Awards in New York City. Then again, if this were your life, would YOU bother holing up in a recording studio to slave over music?
On To The Next One: Today's Bowie -- understated and urbane but still stylish. Doesn't look 66, and doesn't sound it, either. But we're certain Ziggy Stardust and the Thin White Duke would balk at the torn jeans.