David Bowie – popular fashion icon

david bowie a popular fashion icon

‘He has an unusual face, neither man nor woman… which suits me as a designer, because most of my clothes are for either sex’ – this is how Kansai Yamamoto described David Bowie.

A trailblazing singer, songwriter, actor, David Bowie was as much a  fashion icon as a musician.

David Bowie was ahead of his time. He questioned gender and social norms before it became de rigueur to do so. Bowie was outrageous and provocative.His androgynous alter ego was Ziggy Stardust. Ziggy’s flaming red hair and skin tight sparkling attire created by sewing together costumes from Stanley Kubrick’s ‘A Clockwork Orange’ became etched in public memory. We have, since, seen many Bowie clones on the runway with earrings, colourful wedges, cosmetics, glitter and hair dye.

david bowie and japanese fashion

David Bowie discovered Kansai Yamamoto at the first Japanese fashion show in England. Kansai went on to create many memorable costumes for the singer, including the celebrated ‘Tokyo Pop’ vinyl bodysuit and the one legged knitted catsuit, the pattern for which appeared in Elle.

David Bowie borrowed heavily from Japanese design aesthetic. This was manifest in the cloak decorated with Kanji characters, the embroidered suit and Japanese sandals inspired by Kabuki theatre. In oriental theatre genres like the Japanese kabuki or the Indian kathakali, it is commonplace for male actors to perform female characters. Bowie’s androgynous persona found resonance in the kabuki onnagata. With David Bowie’s support, Japonism became central to Western fashion.

david bowie cultural and artistic diversity

Bowie’s love affair with fashion continued with the black suit with pointed shoulders or the iconic polka dot jumper. He co-designed the Union Jack coat with Alexander Macqueen. Macqueen created several outfits for David Bowie, including a distressed brocade tailcoat and a brilliant tyre print suit. Collaborations with Issey Miyake and Georgio Armani followed. Bowie combined a Thierry Mugler suit with kitten heels. He was also designer Thierry Mugler’s first celebrity client.

Bowie embraced cultural and artistic diversity. Some of his costumes had a sinister tribal aspect. He went beyond Japonism to embrace Puerto Rican style. A prolific painter, he was influenced by Andy Warhol. The wallpaper he designed for Laura Ashley, was censored. Bowie called it the ‘third castration’. His deep interest in Buddhism led him to protest against Chinese occupation of Tibet. Post his ‘Diamond Dogs’ tour, Bowie turned to tailoring and monochrome, wearing a powder blue tailored suit by YSL or sporting the celebrated ‘thin white duke’ look.

The Pierrot or the blue clown costume for the ‘Ashes to Ashes’ video and Scary Monsters album cover epitomised what Bowie stood for. ‘I am the last person to pretend I am a radio. I’d rather go out and be a colour television set’ , said Bowie.

As Kansai Yamamoto said, ‘I love his music… but most of all there’s the aura of fantasy’. Inspired by David Bowie’s ‘aura of fantasy’, Deidaa celebrates life and colour. Like Bowie, Deidaa is unfettered by stereotypes. Deidaa embraces cultural diversity. Deidaa is committed to the cause of artisan wellness and works with artisans to produce a unique range of fashion garments and accessories.

Acknowledgement: David Bowie Is exhibition, V&A Museum, London and  ACMI Melbourne

Frockaholics’ Guide to Race wear

Caulfield Cup this afternoon heralds the beginning of racing season and your ultimate nightmare is almost coming true – you have nothing to wear!! The frocks you have a re a size too small, they look tired or, worse still, the prints on them are outdated. How do you revamp your race wear wardrobe?

PROBlem 1: Your RACE WEAR wardrobe is overly populated with jeans, t- shirts and tracky daks.

Solution – Get your tracky daks out of the way. Tracky daks, though comfortable, are slob garments. They are ok to take your pooch out for walks, but are a definite no – no when it comes to dressing for the races.

Dresses and hats with coordinated clutch bags for women and suits with roses on the lapels for men are part of a time honoured dress code. Caulfield Cup has a reasonably relaxed dress code. For men, a tie and a jacket are not mandatory, smart trousers, shoes and long sleeved shirts are. Women are encouraged to wear summer dresses or tailored coordinates. A formal fascinator can be replaced with sequined hats or floral headbands.

Races are as much about dressing right as they are about horses.  By dressing right you are only showing your respect for the tradition and etiquette of horse racing.

Problem 2: RACE WEAR Dresses are out of date.

Solution – Invest in frocks that do not date. A well tailored LBD in a classic style is a good example of this.  Make sure the dresses have ample seam allowance (extra fabric inside the dress) which can be taken out or in response to a fluctuating silhouette.

Invest in over jackets in medium weight, all weather fabrics. Thrown over the dresses, these jackets can define or camouflage your contours. Long  jackets have a slimming effect and can effectively conceal the extra kilos you may have gained.

Problem 3 – Cannot select colour or print

Solution – If you have the adventurous streak, opt for the bold and the beautiful – bright reds, tangerines, cobalt blues and emeralds. Opt for feminine frocks, clinched at the waist. Floral dresses work well as racewear. Go wild with African animal motifs or leopard print dresses.  If you want to celebrate all things Polynesian, wear the frangipani or the hibiscus print with gusto. Replace the traditional fascinator with frangipani in your hair and usher in Pacific rhythm in racewear.

It is a myth that black and white suit most women. Black clearly outlines the body contours. It is recommended for women with perfect body shape. White is an advancing colour and makes you look bigger than you are. If you still prefer solid colours, opt for not black, but charcoal and not white, but ivory.

The trick to wearing solid colours is to accessorise correctly. Read more about how to accessorise racewear in the next post in Deidaa’s ‘Frocks and Fillies’ series.


Melbourne Spring Racing Festival wrap up

deidaa reviews melbourne spring racing festival

What a grand spectacle! The roses were in full bloom, the frocks were a feast for the eyes and the fillies were faster than lightning. That was Melbourne Spring Racing Festival 2015. It was a riot of colour, tangerine, cobalt blue, marsala, fluorescent yellow, hot pink, vivid red and coral. Floral prints vied with the spectacular roses of Flemington Race Course for attention.  Slim ‘6os shift dresses, lace sheaths or tiny off shoulder numbers were everywhere. Shoulder barred or spaghetti strap maxi dresses reinforced the spring summer theme. Headwear ranged from bold fascinators to floral wreaths.  Turbans, hair jewelry and tiaras were cheek by jowl with fedoras and wide brimmed sun hats. Clutch bags with side slings were popular because of their obvious convenience.

The six top fashion trends that emerged from Melbourne Spring Racing Festival were:

 Lace in racewear:

Lace and mesh took the centre stage this Melbourne Cup carnival. Lace sloppy joes teamed up with palazzo pants. Lace tie up tops were worn with gently flared skirts. Lace sheath dresses and maxi dresses dared to bare.  Mesh overskirts and pouffy ‘50s dresses reinforced the lace theme

 Colourful racewear:

This cup season was about colour. Tangerines, hot pinks and corals, cobalt blues and teal dresses stole the thunder from the blooms at Flemington Race Course.

Horizontal striped dresses in fluro colours made a statement. Cobalt blue appeared to be a popular choice for menswear

 Off shoulder racewear:

Off shoulder or shoulder barred dresses were popular. Jennifer Hawkins made a spectacular entry in a fluoro yellow shoulder barred dress complemented by stark black accessories.

 Statement head pieces as racewear:

Traditional fascinators faced stiff competition from wide brimmed sun hats and bowler hats. A few avant garde shapes were spotted, as were fedoras, pixie hats, miniscule pearl numbers and spiked tiaras. Fresh flowers in headwear epitomized the spirit of spring.

 ‘70s revival as racewear:

The boho trend made inroads into the strict monochrome dress code of Derby Day. Tiered peasant skirts in liberty prints, midi skirts, bell bottoms and gentle flares appeared now and then.

 Beaded Clutch bags as racewear:

Race wear is incomplete without accessories. Melbourne Spring racing festival 2015 was no exception. The frocks were complemented with boxy minaudiere clutch bags and envelope bags with side slings. Ethnic bags with pompoms and danglers infused boho chic into the racewear wardrobe.  When it came to silhouettes for clutch bags, boxy minaudieres and envelope bags won hands down.

The Melbourne Spring Racing Festival 2015 relived the era of elegance and gaiety. The rain came, as predicted, but was not enough to put a damper on the festive mood. On the contrary, it added to the fashion with a few brollies, not to mention the Bunnings brolly that was spotted somewhere! We forgot our worldly worries these few days and lived in times where carefully coiffured ladies partook of high tea served in sliver service and bone china and dandies roamed the streets of London.