David Bowie’s Influence On Fashion Is Undeniable

UPDATE (1/11/16, 8:35 a.m. ET): David Bowie has died at 69 after an 18-month battle with cancer. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this time.


Chicago mayor Rahm Emmanuel has declared September 23 David Bowie Day. Why? Well, for one, because David Bowie is an international treasure. But also, because the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago is the site of the U.S. debut of David Bowie Is—a retrospective on the iconic artist’s career and his influence on culture, from music and theater to design and, of course, fashion.

How great is Bowie’s impact? He’s been cited as a influence by almost everyone worth mentioning. He also happens to be a continual well of inspiration for those in the fashion industry, where he’s served as muse for Keanan Duffty’s diffusion line for Target in 2007, a resource for Lady Gaga’s costumes while on tour in Japan, and even once stepped in to settle a dispute between two male models. He’s starred in a fashion film for Louis Vuitton in which he (sort of) reprises his role as “Goblin King” while seducing Arizona Muse. Kate Moss has even transformed into Bowie for Vogue twice—once in 2003 and again in 2012.

So, it makes sense that Moss was on hand to receive Bowie’s award for British Male Solo Artist at the 2014 Brit Awards.

In order to get you ready for the Bowie retrospective, we’ve compiled a small list of the best (and overt) Bowie references on the runway.

Givenchy Spring 2010 Ready-to-Wear

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The first thing we immediately thought of was this blazer worn by Bowie in 1973, which later surfaced on Givenchy’s runway in 2010.

Balmain Fall 2011 Ready-to-Wear

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Balmain as Aladdin Sane.

Dries Van Noten Fall 2011 Menswear

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Dries Van Noten as the Thin White Duke from Bowie’s Station to Station years.

Emilio Pucci Resort 2012

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While a direct reference to Bowie hasn’t been made, you can’t deny that Bowie’s colorful suits have influenced Pucci in some way.

Alexander McQueen Resort 2013

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Ever look at the back of Hunky Dory? That’s where you’ll find Sarah Burton’s inspiration.

Jean Paul Gaultier Spring 2013 Ready-to-Wear

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Ziggy Stardust is alive and well on the runway at JPG.

Jonathan Saunders Spring 2013 Menswear

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Jonathan Saunders decided to reference Bowie’s “Plastic Soul” years instead. We recommend listening to Young Americans for peak plastic-soul experience.

Preen by Thornton Bregazzi Pre-Fall 2013

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The folks at Preen also decided to step out of the box by citing Bowie’s 1983 vampire film The Hunger as an influence. Did we mention that it’s also perfect for Halloween? Well it is.

Robert Geller Fall 2014 Menswear

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While Robert Gellar decided to chanel the Man Who Fell to Earth.