David Bowie Is: an amazing icon paid tribute to in a glorious book

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Coffee table books don’t get more aesthetically pleasing than this.

David Bowie Is is the definitive tribute to one of the world’s greatest music icons, gender deconstructionists and pioneer of the visual arts.

Bowie’s career has so far spanned 50 years and – in the musical realm alone – the guy has impressed, selling over 140 million albums, let alone countless sales of singles the world over.

But David Bowie Is goes way beyond the music behind the man. Beautifully laid out, it traverses Bowie’s influences in the fashion arena, in the visual arts, and across electronic multimedia.

With essays by the likes of Christopher Frayling (focusing on Bowie’s connection to film), Howard Goodall (on musicology), Jon Savage (commenting on Bowie’s relationship to his fans), and Camille Paglia (the artist’s influence on gender and pop cultural decadence), there is plenty more here than just pretty pictures.


On the pictorial note, though, costumes are very much the main focus, with detailed presentations of some of Bowie’s most iconic outfits – from the wild orange-laden Ziggy Stardust attire, through his spaced-out Pierrot look (that appeared in his Ashes To Ashes video), to the military-style suits worn on his Serious Moonlight Tour, this is a wardrobe well worthy of gallery-like presentation.

Keeping in mind that this is the first book to be granted access to Bowie’s personal archive of performance costume, ephemera and original design artwork, and fans can be rest assured there are plenty spectacular rarities within.

The release of David Bowie Is, the book, coincides with David Bowie Is, the exhibition, at London’s famed Victoria & Albert Museum – an exhibit that can only be described as one so rich in depth of content and interactivity, it makes rock’n’roll exhibitions that have come before it pale in comparison.

If you can’t make it to London to see the real thing, David Bowie Is, the book, is as good a substitute as any.


David Bowie Is, the book, is available in deluxe hardback through Bloomsbury, RRP $69.99.

David Bowie Is, the exhibition, runs at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London until August 11, 2013.

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