“I think he was the king of reinvention and I think if you look at him and how he reinvented himself several times throughout his career, and if you look at how his fashion changed, it was a product of the time he was living in,” said Tania Beasley-Jolly, Saks Fifth Ave. marketing director. “Then I think he paved the way for future artists like Madonna and now (Lady) Gaga.”
Beasley-Jolly, a St. Louis Fashion Fund board member, recalled Bowie’s influence Monday. But it wasn't just the cut of clothes that made the Thin White Duke; it was also something called “cut up theory.”
“Cut them up into individual words and just try moving them around to see what combinations would arise out of all those words,” said Ben Fulton, managing editor of Washington University’s The Common Reader. “Bowie did that a lot for his album Low.”
On Monday, many made their way past Bowie’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. But it's T.S. Eliot’s star on the St. Louis Walk of Fame that has something in common with Ziggy Stardust.
“Most literary historians trace back to T.S. Eliot from his headline portions of the Wasteland, later appropriated by William Burroughs, who wrote whole books out of cut up theory, cut up manipulation of words,” Fulton said. “Bowie was fascinated by this. He would cut up his own words and rearrange them and just see what would arise out of this and say, ‘Ah, that's my song lyric’”
Whether in the fashion world, the music industry or television, the death of an icon can be shocking. But the best advice might be found on the back of a Bowie album: “To be played at maximum volume.”
So turn it up tonight for The Man Who Fell to Earth and has now departed it.