David Bowie as Ziggy Stardust in Los Angeles, 1973.
Photo: Getty Images
There’s a MAJOR rock n’ roll milestone happening today- and no, we’re not talking about the type of stuff you learn in music history class. Today marks the 40th anniversary of David Bowie’s 1972 album, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars, AKA the moment the musician introduced his eponymous iconic character upon the rest of the world. The record was a huge hit, spawning a massive world tour, a film, and inspiring the public to question what identifying someone as a “pop star” really means. You don’t have to be a rock nerd to appreciate Ziggy Stardust, though, because his glam-rock ’70s style inspired a fashion movement, as well. His legacy lives on four decades later, with modern musicians taking cues from the face-painted, androgynous look and tweaking it in their own awesome ways. Below, see how Lady Gaga, Taylor Momsen, and Kat Graham are channeling the aesthetics of Ziggy-onstage and off.
Lady Gaga, Kat Graham, and Taylor Momsen channeling Ziggy Stardust.
Photo: Getty Images
Since she first burst on the scene several years ago, it’s been impossible to avoid comparing Lady Gaga to David Bowie, thanks to their shared love for cosmetics, crazy hair, and pantless outfits. She even rocked Ziggy’s signature lightning bolt face paint in her ’08 vid for “Just Dance!”. And who could forget Gaga’s gender-bending (and seriously committed) turn as Jo Calderone at last year’s VMAs? Bottom line: Gag’s always been about pushing the boundaries and breaking the limits, and she owes a lot of that to Ziggy’s fearlessly out-there performances. And although Bowie denies a Gaga-Stardust collab for now, we can still dream, can’t we?
Vampire Diaries star, singer, and our own Special Style Correspondent at last weekend’s Movie Awards Kat Graham can sport minimalist chic like nobody’s business, but every so often the 22-year-old lets her inner Ziggy Stardust run wild- specifically during Fashion Week. Check her out at last season’s Jeremy Scott show, where she rocked a long-sleeved, floor-length, velvet gown complete with-what else?!- a David Bowie lightning bolt. Love it!
Gossip Girl turned-punk-rocker Taylor Momsen hasn’t been shy about breaking away from her “Little J” past- and THAT’s an understatement. She’s been working extreme black eyeliner (click here to see her beauty evolution), ripped tights, clunky boots and lots of leather on tour with The Pretty Reckless , channeling the rough-edged side of Ziggy.
These modern glam rockers are only the tip of the iceberg that is Ziggy’s pop culture influence. Kate Moss transformed into Ziggy not once, but twice (!) for VOGUE and singer Ingrid Michaelson got a Ziggy makeover in her “Blood Brothers” music video.
So who cares if we weren’t alive to buy The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust when it first dropped four decades ago? There’s never been a better reason to listen to the album and experience all the magic now.