The “David Bowie is” retrospective opens at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum this Saturday, and among the most visually impressive artifacts are more than 60 of the music icon’s stage-worn costumes. The ensembles — which have been preserved in climate-controlled conditions under the care of archivist Sandy Hirshkowitz — represent Bowie’s collaborations with fashion designers like Kansai Yamamoto, Alexander McQueen, and Ola Hudson (mother of Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash) to create wardrobes for his fictionalised stage personas .
The exhibit, which also includes Bowie’s own costume sketches, set designs, and album artwork, is sponsored by Gucci. “David Bowie is… one of my greatest inspirations. His individuality, originality and authenticity have been defining. Through his creative genius his influence on music, fashion, art and popular culture over decades has been immeasurable and will continue to be for decades to come,” Gucci creative director Frida Giannini said in a statement.
Click on to see some of the costume highlights from the V&A Museum’s “David Bowie is” retrospective.
Bowie wore this Freddie Burretti-designed jumpsuit when he performed “Starman” (in character as Ziggy Stardust) on Top of the Pops in July 1972.
Bowie worked with Japanese designer Kansai Yamamoto to create this kabuki-inspired costume (called “Spring Rain”) and other structural pieces for the 1973 Aladdin Sane tour.
Records of Bowie’s measurements from the Ziggy Stardust years reveals the singer had a 26 and a half-inch waist when he wore this asymmetrical catsuit by designer Kansai Yamamoto.
Bowie wore this ensemble by Freddie Burretti on the cover of his 1974 album, David Live, and on the stage during his 1974 Diamond Dogs Tour.
The white sailor costume worn by Bowie during his 1978 Isolar II World Tour was designed by Natasha Kornilof, who also created the clown costume the singer wore when he posed for the album cover for Glamour.
Among the other costumes is a Union Jack coat designed by Bowie and British fashion designer Alexander McQueen for the album cover of Earthling (1997).
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