On Bowie and creativity


Whenever I sit through some high-fashion parading event such as the Oscars, I get bored to death with men’s outfits. ALL of them in a black tuxedo, white shirt, black bow tie. How dull is that? Is there a secret society that raises them up into stardom but, in exchange, enforces them to wear that uniform?

When I complain, I usually get told:

-”But they are men, they don’t have so many options. There’s no much more they can do”.

For a second, they almost convince me. But an inner voice protests: “Wait, would I be one of those guys, I would be wearing…”

This also happens with many other things. All things grey, predictable. They keep telling you: “There is no much more of a thing that can be done. Stick to the rules to win the game. Play it safe”.

Same goes for your interests. When you do more than one thing, you are told:

-”Just stick to what you do best. You will confuse people otherwise, and they won’t know what to expect from you. You won’t look serious or committed. Niche marketing, remember?”

Ok. Part true. Avoid being skatterbrained, know what you are good at and improve your expertise, get to know your target audience who will be willing to benefit from it… but still, as a general rule…

Well, thank you David Bowie and Victoria & Albert Museum for granting me a chance to tell them all… Bollocks!

Bowie is… exhibition proves there are so many ways of doing things, provided you have the courage and the imagination necessary. That one person’s creativity can manifest itself and unfold in many different and surprising turns.

To begin with, even if you are a man, you can actually dress yourself in many different ways (and you won’t die). Ways that help you express different parts of your personality or convey different ideas, that help you build a character, that gather together many different cultural references, that are a challenge to the status quo and open new possibilities. Ways that, in the end, might make a fashion icon out of you.

David Bowie started out as the typical ‘well-dressed’, neat crooner teen of the ’60s, still borrowing too much from the ’50s.


But then he went beyond what was expected from him. He summed up all the Zeitgeist’s vibes and what was yet only envisioned by a few: from Kubrik to the space race, from glam to questioning gender conventions and those who keep them as sacred…

He mixed it all with other influences, travelling in time (e.g. Hollywood’s classic glamour) and space (to distant countries). He sought to collaborate with whoever was ready to experiment.

That’s how, aided by Freddie Burretti’s designs, he ended up creating Ziggy Stardust space traveller persona, an explorer not only of the outer space but in so many other ways.


To top it all, rockstar photographer Mick Rock was behind the lens for the pic in here.

He kept developing this, as well as other chameleonic identities, with designer Kansai Yamamoto’s aid and what they both could steal, twist and recreate from Kabuki theatre.



He developed an ambiguity and rule-breaking that offended and enraged many (“Is that a boy or a girl?”), and was at the same time a mirror or the example of a champion for those who felt alien, rebels or nonconformists themselves.

He created an iconography that is still revisited today for those who seek inspiration for creating something different and new. Or those who want to pay tribute to it.


Over the years, Bowie kept adding layers and switching to other characters, as he did under the influence of his Berlin stay, adopting Weimar’s Cabaret and German expressionism aesthetics and traits to give birth to the Thin White Duke.


Later on, he kept playing with the ’80s and ’90s aesthetic.

But one of the most mind-blowing things in the exhibition is being a witness of how Bowie, as a polymath, got away with immersing himself in many arts: music, graphic art and painting, personal brand counselling and marketing, stage design, fashion, video, acting…

Speaking of acting, some scenes of his movies were being projected. Such as Labyrinth, were he plays the Goblin King in a costume by our friend (and Zanzibar dreamer) Ellis Flyte



but it was a surprise to see him excel as well as The Elephant Man on the stage.

Not so much of a surprise, on the other hand, seeing how birds of a feather flock together or talent recognizes talent: he was one of the first ones to collaborate with a recently graduated Alexander McQueen, starting out with the Union Jack coat he wore in the cover of Earthling album.


Or recently, in a brilliant move for The Next Day album, seeing him joining forces with his undoubtedly female alter ego Tilda Swinton, and get them both mirrored in gender bending models Andrej Pejić and Saskia de Brauw. Genius.



By the way, all of them directed by Floria Sigismondi, who also did this for Sigur Rós. I dare you not to cry.

Although my favourite collaboration of his is still the one with another of my Patron Saints: Queen and Freddie Mercury in Under Pressure.

But let’s not forget how life is full of surprises and ironies: Bowie, has even inspired a real astronaut in outer space, Chris Hadfield, to cover his Space Oddity. How cool is that?

You’ve got to love the chap: he even has a sense of humour:

“I’ve re-invented my image so many times that I’m in denial that I was originally an overweight Korean woman.” – David Bowie



To cut things short: Whoever who visits this exhibition and doesn’t feel an urge of working in his/her own personal projects is bloodless and should be publicly flogged.

Never let anyone convince you of limiting yourself, dear non-conformists.

PS. For further Bowie is… exhibition pictures and reviews, you can visit Style Bubble’s post on it.

PPS. More info about the collaboration of Bowie and Kansai Yamamoto.

PPPS.Regarding fashion, I love this quote from Carla de La Lá:: “Those who really understand about aesthetics and are creative, dress “badly”, because of a natural intolerance of boredom, an undisguised lack of concern for the opinion of the majority and a carefree contempt for conventions. Following fashion trends is submissive, meek and daft”.

2 Responses to “On Bowie and creativity”

  1. ¡me ha encantado el post! Y adoro a Bowie!!!
    Interesante tu blog ;)

    Besos rojos!!!

  2. Querida mía,no esperaba menos de ti.
    Excelente post! ;)

    Besos azul mediterráneo! ^-^

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