Casual Cosplay, Fall Edition: #15 - David Bowie (Ziggy Stardust & Life on Mars? Video)

David Bowie as Jareth in Labryinth

David Bowie as Jareth in Labryinth

First off, I love David Bowie - his music, his acting, his look. Everything, even paper dolls of Bowie I love (I gifted a set to a friend). There are also a lot of ways one can cosplay as him. As demonstrated by the Concords - there are a lot of phases, layers, depths, etc of one Mr. David Bowie. Not only does Bowie have an extensive collection of music he has gifted the world, but enough fashions that warranted an exhibition by the Victoria & Albert (currently on view in Chicago). I know, you are probably curious why I'm not dressing up as Jareth from Labyrinth, which is truly a wonderful look and role for Bowie. The truth, is I love his Ziggy Stardust years and Life on Mars? is a masterpiece of music.  

David Bowie first released Life on Mars? in 1971 on the album Hunky Dory, unfortunately the LP did not perform as well as hoped. In 1973, during the Ziggy Stardust years, the song was re-released as a single. The re-release was a success and the song debuted at number three on the charts. The song has been on the UK charts twice and when it was used as the theme song for the British television series Life on Mars. The BBC lists it as one of the top 100 songs and highlights the surrealist nature of the song: "slew of surreal images – “Mickey Mouse has grown up a cow” etc – are combined with Bowie’s operatic delivery, string arrangements by Mick Ronson and piano thrills from Rick Wakeman to ensure this is one of the oddest hit singles ever."  I personally like the random lyrics, "Look at those cavemen go" as they reference the The Hollywood Argyle's song Alley Oop ( a favorite of mine that I know from the movie Shag).

Bowie, at the time of Hunky Dory's release in 1971, summed up the song as "A sensitive young girl's reaction to the media". In Nicholas Pegg's The Compete David Bowie, he is stated as saying "I think she finds herself disappointed with reality... that although she's living in the doldrums of reality, she's being told that there's a far greater life somewhere, and she's bitterly disappointed that she doesn't have access to it". There's also a random bit of music history tied to Life on Mars?. In 1968 Bowie had written Even A Fool Learns To Love, an English version of a French song titled  Comme, D’Habitude. However, Paul Anka (the singer / songwriter, not the dog on Gilmore Girls), beat him to the rights. That song would come to be known as My Way and a famous song for Frank Sinatra. Bowie in turn wrote Life on Mars?. Some say this is a sort of parody to My Way out of anger, but the liner notes states "inspired by Frankie."

Since the single and the video of Life on Mars? are tied to the Ziggy Stardust (the glam rock flamboyant androgynous and awesome alter ego of David Bowie) years, I decided to mash up Bowie's Life on Mars? video look (the iconic Ice-blue suit circa 1972 and designed by Freddie Burretti - which I believe is on tour with the previously mentioned exhibition) with the iconic lightening bolt face paint of Ziggy Stardust for my fall casual cosplay look, as you can see below. 

I made my Bowie lightning bolt necklace charm out of felt (using similar techniques to my Loki charm tutorial), paired it with my light blue dress, a button up white collar shirt and tie from my husband's side of the closet, and kept the rest simple with black leggings and boots. A little light blue eyeliner and glossy pink lips and I'm ready to belt out "Oh man! Wonder if he'll ever know / He's in the best selling show / Is there life on Mars?"