ZIGGY STARDUST | YOU’RE JUST A GIRL… WHAT DO YOU KNOW ABOUT MAKEUP?

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Brian Duffy photograph of David Bowie for the Aladdin Sane album cover, 1973. “Bowie’s sixth studio album marked the birth of the ‘schizophrenic’ character Aladdin Sane who was a development of the space-age Japanese-influenced Ziggy Stardust. To create the compelling album cover image, Bowie collaborated with photographer Brian Duffy and make-up artist Pierre Laroche. The result was one of the most recognizable images in popular culture– a ‘lightning flash’ design which has been reproduced in multiple forms world-wide.” via

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Look, there are those that revere Bowie as an ahead-of-his-time visionary who revolutionized Rock ‘n’ Roll. And there are those who see him very black & white, as a plodding opportunist who coldly studied what was happening around him (heavily borrowing from  true innovators at the time like Marc Bolan), and then expertly went about merchandising himself for mass commercial consumption. Both are fucking true. Bowie is an epic genius who learned through years of toil, trial, and error how to create a magical out-of-this-world persona and artistically sell it to us on a silver platter. No one has done it better in recent memory, and it’s unlikely that anyone in our lifetime will top him. Period. End of story.

There’s an incredible account by Glenn O’Brien in the recent issue of Out Magazine. Gay or straight, get over it, go buy it, and devour the entire spread on David Bowie. It is brilliant. You can read a chunk of it here after the jump. Now go– oh, you pretty things.

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“David Bowie (AKA Ziggy Stardust) wearing a sensational creation by Kansai Yamamoto. Born in Yokohama in 1944, the Japanese fashion designer was only 27 when he held his first international fashion show in London in 1971. The Japanese division of RCA records made MainMan aware of Yamamoto’s work and Bowie purchased the “woodlands animal costume” from Kansai’s London boutique– which he wore at the Rainbow Concert in August 1972 and which was later remade by Natasha Korniloff. Bowie subsequently viewed a video of a rock/fashion show that Kansai had staged in Japan the previous year and reportedly loved the costumes which were a combination of modern sci-fi and classical Kabuki theatre. Kansai and Bowie met in New York where he gifted Bowie two costumes during the 2nd US Tour. Kansai was then commissioned to create nine more costumes based on traditional Japanese Noh dramas for Bowie to pick up in Tokyo in April 1973. These were the flamboyant androgynous Ziggy Stardust costumes Bowie wore on the 3rd UK tour in 1973.” via The Ziggy Stardust Companion –photo by Masayoshi Sukita, the David Bowie archive

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David Bowie as Ziggy Stardust –photo by Mick Rock via

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David Bowie as Ziggy Stardust –photo by Mick Rock via

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David Bowie as Ziggy Stardust for the Pin Ups album and promo material, 1973. –Photo by Mick Rock via

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David Bowie (as Ziggy Stardust wearing an eye patch) performs “Rebel Rebel” on the TV show TopPop in Hilversum, Netherlands, 1974. This was Bowie at the end of his Ziggy era. (Photo by Gijsbert Hanekroot/Redferns/Getty Images) via

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David Bowie as Ziggy Stardust –Photo by Mick Rock via

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David Bowie as Ziggy Stardust –Photo by Mick Rock via

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David Bowie as Ziggy Stardust rocking the famous platform boots from his Aladdin Sane tour.

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David Bowie and Mick Ronson on stage during the Ziggy Stardust tour, December 1972 / January 1973. Bowie is wearing a pair of platform shoes decorated with palm trees by Pelican Footwear, New York. –Photo by Mick Rock via

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David Bowie as Ziggy Stardust –Photo by Mick Rock via

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David Bowie on stage in Scotland during the Aladdin Sane tour, 1973. –Photo by Mick Rock via

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David Bowie on stage in Scotland during the Aladdin Sane tour, 1973. –Photo by Mick Rock via

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Lou Reed, Mick Jagger and David Bowie, Café Royale, 4th of July. 1973. “After the very last Ziggy gig at Hammersmith Odeon on 4 July 1973, came the Ziggy Farewell Party in Piccadilly. All kinds of characters showed up, including Ringo Starr, Jeff Beck, Bianca Jagger and Lulu, but David spent much of his time chatting and laughing with Lou Reed and Mick Jagger. From all the photos I took, you can see how focused they were on each other. Later Mick and Lou even danced together (I have the photo). The most famous photos are the ones with all three of them in a kind of cuddle and the shot of Lou and David about to kiss. This shot has only been published once previously.” –Photo by Mick Rock via

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David Bowie with Cyrinda Foxe, 1972. “Cyrinda travelled with us for part of the first Ziggy Stardust US tour. She’s the blonde in the now classic Jean Genie video that I directed. She was spawned by Warhol’s Factory and was a light-hearted fun person to be around. This shot is from a series of photos I took in some old bar in the Hollywood Hills. David liked it because it looked like something from an Edward Hopper painting. One of the shots was copied as an illustration for the original US Jean Genie single release ad. Recently it has been used on the picture disc limited edition re-release of the single, but in a colourised version.” –Photo by Mick Rock via

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David Bowie prays at the window, 1973. “Backstage, Scotland, May 1973. I’m not sure that he’s necessarily praying, but he’s certainly in deep contemplation, thinking no doubt about the continued vertical trajectory of his career! It’s one of my favourite shots of Bowie, although it took some 30 years for it to be published in my book collaboration with David, Moonage Daydream in 2002. It’s taken before the show, and from the light streaming through the window you can see that it’s still daylight. Quite often on that tour the gigs were in the early evening starting around 6pm.” –Photo by Mick Rock via

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David Bowie in make-up, 1973. “David was very adept at applying his make-up and did it himself mostly in those days. Lindsay Kemp had taught him the rudiments in the days when David had studied the art of mime with him in the late 60s. On his trip to Japan earlier in 1973 he had had met with Tamasaburo, the Japanese Kabuki star, who had given him a lot of tips on how to apply Kabuki-style makeup. David brought back with him a whole array of exotic make-up. In Moonage Daydream he writes, ‘I used to enjoy doing the make-up. It felt relaxing and put me in a kind of serene state before the show.’ The slew of photos I have of him applying make-up bear witness to his focused demeanour.”  –Photo by Mick Rock via

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David Bowie lunch on the train, 1973. “Taken on the train up to Aberdeen for the first gig of David’s final Ziggy tour, 15th of May, 1973. Another image that got lost in the archive until it finally surfaced in Moonage Daydream. I have a slew of photos on the train and in the stations of David in that amazing jacket. But the favourite one for fans is this one. Of all my limited edition fine art prints, this may be the one that has sold the most. Maybe it’s got something to do with the ridiculously ‘glam’ look of the magic duo and the obviously mundane nature of their British Rail lunch – lamb chops, boiled potatoes, peas with the bread rolls and pats of butter. But also perhaps something to do with the warm conspiratorial way they are looking at each other. They had the rock scene by the horns and they were savouring it!”  –Photo by Mick Rock via

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Who wouldn’t want to be there when Bowie met Warhol for the first time?

For OUT magazine by Glenn O’Brien

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In 1971, David Bowie was having his Greta Garbo moment. On the cover of Hunky Dory, he looked a bit like her and sang a song called “Oh! You Pretty Things.” That was his vibe when he came to visit Andy Warhol at the Factory, on September 14, 1971. He was with his manager, Tony DeFries. They were in town to sign with a new record company, RCA, and Bowie wanted to pay homage to Warhol. Andy had been a hit in London in ’71 with his play, Pork, and Bowie had recorded a single, “Andy Warhol,” and he wanted to sing the song to Andy in person.

I don’t know if they had an appointment, but I remember someone saying, “There’s somebody here named David Bowie to see Andy.” I had been reading about Bowie and had heard The Man Who Sold the World. It had Bowie with long curly locks reclining odalisque-style in a vintage dress on the cover, and it only reached 105 on the Billboard charts. The Factory was the world’s HQ for drag queens at the time, and I thought that Bowie was jumping on the bandwagon. But something was in the air; hippies were wearing feather boas, and, unbeknownst to us, the New York Dolls were rehearsing somewhere. I said that Bowie was pretty famous and that we should, of course, let him in.

David had long hair and was wearing huge Oxford bags-style trousers, a floppy hat, and Mary Janes with one red sock and one blue — he was clearly aiming for a sort of eccentric androgynous look. I was immediately struck by his eyes, with their electric pupils. I was also struck by David’s wife, Angie, who looked more boyish than David and had quite a presence, and by the contrast of Tony DeFries, who looked like a Sicilian Elvis impersonator. Not very glam.

Bowie had studied with the famed mime Lindsay Kemp and had toured with Kemp’s company, so he certainly had the best mime credentials, but none of us knew quite what to make of the mime he performed for Andy. Then he sang “Andy Warhol.” I don’t think Andy could tell whether it was an homage or a send-up, with its rather ambiguous lyrics, but everyone was very nice and polite. I’ve recently seen the silent black-and-white video [of the visit]. The Factory’s video technique was even worse than its film technique, and I’m curious about the conversation I can be seen having with Bowie, my hair almost as long as his. I recall David asking me where he could get a copy of the Index Book and I recall that I had no idea what that was.

I don’t know what Andy thought of that day — probably not much, but he had that sense of judging a person’s self-esteem, and I think Bowie passed on that count. The next time I saw him was in London. RCA Records had gotten behind him big time, and, in 1972, they shipped a bunch of editors and writers over to see his new incarnation, Ziggy Stardust. It was a total transformation, with Bowie gone futurist with radical red hair, makeup, and Japanese designer clothes. It was fantastic. He was a new dandy prototype, a Beau Brummell for the publicity millennium. I saw the band play a great concert in a medium-sized hall in Aylesbury, and I hung out with David and his very friendly wife, Angie. We went dancing at Yours and Mine, a hip disco under a Mexican restaurant and, yeah, I danced with David Bowie. Fabulous!

Read the complete story here…

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British Vogue, May 2003 — Kate Moss, in the style of David Bowie’s Aladdin Sane. Hair: Sam McKnight, Make-up: Val Garland, Fashion editor: Kate Phelan, Photography: Nick Knight via

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11 thoughts on “ZIGGY STARDUST | YOU’RE JUST A GIRL… WHAT DO YOU KNOW ABOUT MAKEUP?

  1. Bravo! David is unique; a god of the pop culture. Great post, JP. I really digged the pictures as well!

    Peace,
    -Peter

  2. Bowie is and was most definitely both a visionary/innovator as well as – business man – astute marketer – excessive opportunist – artist – con artist – pastiche at times and overall chameleon .Less known is the fact that He ( along with Brian Eno ) has been responsible for both maintaining as well as reviving the careers of more than a few rock legends ( Iggy Pop , Lou Reed , Scott Walker etc ) who’s careers most likely would have been lost to history had it not been for the efforts of Bowie/Eno

    In other words Bowie … to say the least is … complex . Therefore any attempts to categorize him into any Black & White descriptions is an utter exercise in futility

    My take on trying to categorize Bowie into this box or that is like trying to squeeze liquid mercury in the palm of your hand . The minute you think you’ve got ahold of it .. its gone

    The truly tragic aspect of Bowie for those of us that have known him is that he was and still is to a point a victim of the characters he’s created and unfortunately never has completely escaped ‘ their ‘ influence in the minds of the press/audience as well as his own subconscious … which has more than once proven his undoing in many ways .

    Which should serve as a warning to any and all that might chose to emulate him . Beware that the character you create might very well be the person you’ll become : with that ‘personality’s ‘ sole ultimate goal being your complete and utter destruction

    As to Mr Bowie though … I wish him nothing but the best for what ever the future may have for him

  3. I cannot wait to go and see the David Bowie exhibition at the V&A, booked my ticket as they are selling out fast and this post has just made me even more excited.

  4. I remember him like it was yesterday. Bowie and is counterparts were so refreshing. After the hippie thing died down. The Glam Rock period was brief, but it was more frosting on the cake being young. Good article, photos.

  5. Bowie at his best, it riles me to hear people talking about Bowie borrowing from Bolan. Bowie was the fashion icon, one of very few that actually had everything working. Bowie shocked, Slade rocked and Bolan minced. He was a 24 carat poseur that managed to maintain an element of interest. He turned out some great songs but if you import the entire catalogue to itunes and stick it on shuffle, you won’t hear them very often.

    By the way, is it me or does the Kansai Yamamoto outfit look like labial lips….. OK, it’s just me then?

  6. It took another 15 years before the general public had the balls to rock a mullet like he did. You inspired me to find some fairly obscure live recordings of Bowie & Co. on youtube. Beautiful stuff; some of it you wouldn’t blink to hear it from a current band but back then it was so ‘out there’. Thank you.

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