David Bowie wearing striped bodysuit designed by Kansai Yamamoto for the Aladdin Sane tour, 1973. Photo: Masayoshi Sukita.


“David Bowie Is”

Victoria and Albert Museum
Cromwell Road
March 23–July 28, 2013

Curated by Victoria Broackes and Geoffrey Marsh

Always changing, ever evolving, David Bowie actualized the shift from young mod Brit to full-blown icon of pop, a stamp on people’s minds even now, as the exhibition title’s “is” reminds. Culling some three hundred items from the David Bowie Archive, including costumes, set designs, storyboards, films, diary entries, instruments, handwritten lyrics, and album art, the V&A will show an array of Bowies—from sixteen-year-old David Jones to Ziggy Stardust spaceman to impresario of glam rock and the New Romantics to late-’90s Alexander McQueen–cloaked “earthling”—all under a single roof. An accompanying catalogue explores how Bowie shaped fashion, with essays addressing his polymorphous musicality, his extreme charades, and his encounter with William S. Burroughs, which brought him down from space and back to the street.