How strange that the passing of David Bowie should come as his aesthetic ghost is already haunting the Fall 2016 men’s runways. Katie Eary’s show, for instance, bore his unmistakable imprimatur—jiggy, Ziggy graphic pattern; flowing silk; and that newly coined fashionable notion of gender fluidity that’s thus far come bound up in the simple notion of a man wearing a woman’s blouse. Which, in itself, is pretty Bowie.
Eary remarked that she was inspired by an Alec Lindsell documentary, The Sacred Triangle, exploring the creative exchange between Bowie, Lou Reed, and Iggy Pop. Indeed, part of the reason Bowie dubbed his Spiders From Mars frontman “Ziggy” was because it sounded a bit like Iggy.
The slipstreaming and swapping of references, genres, and indeed garments was Eary’s big idea for Fall. She threw a few female models into the mix too, although with teased beehives, dolly bird eyeliner, and marabou-puffed mules, their gender wasn’t terribly fluid. Neither was their teetering gait. Regardless of the androgyny of the attire of Ziggy or Iggy, I’m fairly sure neither would dare don those mules, for simple health and safety reasons rather than anything more ideological.
Would they wear the rest? Possibly. Eary had done her homework—or had at least watched a few dozen YouTube videos to get the superficial style of the trio of stars down pat. Jeans came in metallic leather that glistened like Warhol’s Factory walls; silk billowed in caftans printed with koi carp, possibly a reference to Mr. Fish, the London designer whose peculiar clothes were worn by the likes of Mick Jagger and, indeed, Bowie. They also had a bit of the Ossie Clark and Celia Birtwell about them—a big compliment. Maybe too big, but still, credit’s due.
Less successful were high-zipped retro sporty tops in panne velvet—a fabric of questionable practicality for winter and even more doubtful taste that has been popping up all over the place at London’s men’s shows. Here, it ended up looking like Eary had cut a few outfits, Von Trapp–style, from old curtains. Not sure Bowie would ever wear that.