Monday, 13 May 2013

David Bowie Is

As I sit back and reflect on my trip to London, I have all sorts of thoughts and feelings about the David Bowie exhibit "David Bowie Is" at the Victoria & Albert Museum. It is an amazing exhibit, full of "Sound & Vision." The exhibit is a view into the life, musical and theatrical history of David Bowie. The book and the exhibit is an explosion of color, style and it's full of inspiration. I suggest that if you're ever in London, please check out this exhibit!!! You won't be disappointed. There is always a line to get in, but it moves fairly quickly and it's accompanied with a headset, giving you a total audio-visual experience. The headsets are controlled to the rooms and as you walk through them, you are hit with the music that we all love , but we also have rare interviews with his long time producer, Tony Visconti, his early costume designers, Freddie Burretti (who designed costumes for the Ziggy Stardust Tour and designed the man dress on the cover of "The Man Who Sold The World" album), Kansai Yamamoto (who designed costumes for the Aladdin Sane Tour) and Natasha Korniloff (who designed costumes for The 1980 Floor Show Tour). David has always been an inspiration to me visually and musically. He always manages to touch a part of me and opens new doors for me to step into his vision. My favorite period of David's will always be the 1970's, because he really pushed the envelope with gender play, style and color. It was always a visual assault on the senses when he did something that shocked (wore a man's dress on the cover of "The Man Who Sold The World", wore a very short, white kimono with a long cape on the "Aladdin Sane" Tour), but it also drew you in because it made you curious. It made you question everything you knew before, and made you see something completely different. The music and the videos also helped to shape the story of David Bowie. The costumes helped seal the visual aspect of David Bowie, whether he was Ziggy Stardust, Aladdin Sane, The Thin White Duke, or even in drag (he played female backup singers in his video for "Boys Keep Swinging", giving each one a character: one really old, one really glamorous, and one in a tight 50's bun), he always managed to give you a little bit of himself, even when he was absorbed in the characters, especially of Ziggy Stardust and Aladdin Sane. David Bowie is one of the few artists that inspired me to create so really over the top things to wear to the clubs, back in my club kid days. I would sketch them out and when I had enough time, I would get the fabric and create them (usually on the night that I was gonna wear them). In moving around, I have lost all the sketches and all of the pieces I've made to symbolize that time in my life. I was still a beginning designer and I didn't really know all of the rules, but whatever I knew, I threw it in there and made something beautiful. Whenever I put any of his music on (mostly his 70's stuff) and I'm sitting down with my sketchpad and my headphones on my ears, I get right into the frame of mind of the song or even the time period when the song was done and it explodes on the page. I also can get inspired by the fabrics that are available and something beautiful will come from that. David Bowie, Elton John, Grace Jones, Bryan Ferry and Dale Bozzio (lead singer of Missing Persons. She was the Lady Gaga of the 1980's) are my design inspirations. They always wore something, I've never seen before or since and that gave me the dream to want to design for them in any capacity. To this day, I still do. As the 80's and 90's came into play, David got more experimental with the music and less with his look, venturing into electronic music, soul, dance, even drum and bass. Although he had some interesting costumes at this period (mostly suits of different colors) really enforcing the Thin White Duke character, but with a bit of a glossy sheen to it (having a tan and looking sun kissed all throughout the 80's), the look was more in the background and he was much more confident in his persona, no longer wanting to hide behind a character. One of my favorite looks at this time is the Vivienne Westwood Union Jack coat that he wears on the cover of his album, "Earthling." He also wore the jacket on the corresponding tour, which was a dream come true for me, because I had the most AMAZING seats (third row center), and it was the first time that I was seeing him live. Screaming my head off, singing along and really taking a closer look at all of his costumes (mostly jackets), looking at all of the details and seeing how I can put my own spin on it. I know that David is retiring from touring, but I would love to see him on stage again. He's in the place where he will make music when he feels he has something to say and perform on tv shows, but he won't do a full scale tour again. Either way, I have the amazing memory of seeing him in concert. Now, the only two people I need to see in concert now is Bryan Ferry and Dale Bozzio. Check out the exhibit if you can, or get the book and revel in the magestry of David Bowie over and over again. I know I will!!!! ( Stay fashionable and sexy!!!!!

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