Day 5 After Bowie: Moonage Daydream

To close my Week of Bowie, I’m paying tribute to the most influential fashion designer you’ve never heard of and the unsung hero of the entourage, Freddie Burretti (aka Frederick Burrett) the star’s personal tailor in the years ’70-’74.

I’ve seen the David Bowie Is… exhibition twice on its tour, in Berlin and Groningen. Each time, I’ve been struck by Burretti’s remarkable designs. It’s fair to say his work stands out as a highlight in the esteemed company Kansai, McQueen, Mugler and Slimane, all represented in the collection.

Burretti became friends with Bowie in 1970. He’s name checked in All the Young Dudes and it’s said Moonage Daydream is about him. For a few years he was Bowie’s principal stylist, creating the quilted jumpsuits of Ziggy Stardust, the tailored suits of Diamond Dogs and much of the colourful wardrobe that defined the star’s style of the time. The two parted company in 1974 and Burretti drifted into obscurity. He passed away in 2002, aged just 49.

Burretti’s designs were bold, visionary and pioneering. His innovative tailoring and vibrant colours are a clear precursor to the styles that appear in the following decade. The hip-skimming jackets, loose-fitting pants and pagoda shoulders all appear light years ahead of their time. I had to look twice at the double breasted blue suit from the Diamond Dogs tour to convince myself it had in fact been made in 1974, and not ten years later as I originally thought.

The cream of the crop, though, is the iconic suit worn by Bowie in the Life on Mars video. It’s an exquisite piece of tailoring, skilfully merging the conventions of menswear and womenswear in a way that reads neither masculine nor feminine, just flat-out fabulous (how great did it look on Kate Moss!) The turquoise taffeta still shimmers and every seam is flawlessly rendered. A striped shirt, metallic tie and two-tone shoes are high-contrast details that make the whole look sing.

No way can I ever come up with something this fabulous, but I can dream of a Life on Mars in a lilac mohair blazer, patterned button down shirt (both Paul Smith) blue tailored silk-mix pants and striped heels by Balenciaga. Since I don’t have a necktie I added a chandelier crystal pendant to finish it off.

Freak out in a Moonage Daydream, oh yeah!

Freddie Burretti Youtube playlist:

Erratum: Just realised I've been spelling his name wrong, duh. Corrected. 

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24 Comments

  • Style Fan replied 2 years ago

    I have been enjoying your Bowie posts.  Very well written and amazing photos.  Your outfits are all fantastic and today is amazing.  Love the colours.  Now I am off to watch the videos that you have posted. 

  • Kaelyn replied 2 years ago

    Absolutely beautiful... I see you saved the best for last!

  • viva replied 2 years ago

    Wonderful post! And a wonderful pose, too. The perfect finish to  your Bowie series. Thank you!

  • Joy replied 2 years ago

    I've enjoyed and learned a lot from your series. The photos you have included make me want to find a baby blue pant suit, or at least trousers and matching sweater.

  • torontogirl replied 2 years ago

    Fantastic!

  • skylurker replied 2 years ago

    Thanks so much for your Bowie posts, I didn't know much about him and though his music leaves me cold, you convinced me he was a great artist.
    (love your shirt).

  • approprio replied 2 years ago

    Thanks all! Popped back in to correct a spelling mistake - it's Burretti with two R's. Silly me.

    I'm really glad you've enjoyed it. I had no idea where this would take me when I started it this week, and it's been fascinating for me to reflect on Bowie's impact both on my own style and on fashion in general. Great fun to write about it too.

    skylurker
    , even if you don't care for his music, if you're interested in fashion it's impossible to escape his influence. He was indeed a great artist. 

    Joy, I'd love to see you in a baby blue pantsuit. I think I want one too.

  • Elizabeth P replied 2 years ago

    Well, I have to say that I'm sorry your Bowie week is coming to a close.  I have REALLY enjoyed your outfits, and the brief fashion history lesson you've been giving us.  Thank you!

  • merwoman replied 2 years ago

    Outstanding series - sad to see it come to an end. Thank you for sharing these photos and your amazing writing. 

  • Angie replied 2 years ago

    How fun to see you in a blazer. Fun pose too. 

    Liz, I hope that your Bowie challenge was as cathartic for you as it was for us. 

  • Diane G replied 2 years ago

    Wow! Love all the Bowie pics and your interpretations is awesome. Love the shirt and necklace combo. Going to click on Starman now...love that song..

  • SandyG replied 2 years ago

    They were both such artists, delightful to all this spirit expressed. I've loved your posts this week. 

  • rachylou replied 2 years ago

    Beautiful. And thank you for the playlist.

  • annagybe replied 2 years ago

    Only now caught up on the series. It was great.

  • shevia replied 2 years ago

    Please order me one of those blue pantsuits too. You have really opened my eyes to a whole world I had not seen before. Absolutely wonderful series and I hope you enjoyed it as much as I have.

  • approprio replied 2 years ago

    Thanks everyone! I've not been as active in these threads as I'd have liked because the posts themselves took a lot of time, but thanks again to everyone who commented. 

    Elizabeth, merwoman: hah! don't encourage me or I might be back for an encore next week. If there's one thing I've learned from this exercise it's that I need more Bowie in my day to day style, so this may not be the last you hear on the subject.

    Angie, shevia: cheers! It has indeed been very cathartic. Between this and the wake I feel I've given my hero a proper send-off. I'm not here to bury Bowie, but to praise him. 

    Stylefan, rachylou, Diane G: hope you enjoyed the videos. Starman in particular is a wonderful performance and an iconic TOTP moment. I loved that show! 

    Right, now let's all go shopping for sky-blue trouser suits....

  • chirico (Chiara) replied 2 years ago

    Great rendition. The shirt and pendant make your outfit special.

  • Beth Ann replied 2 years ago

    I have so enjoyed this series -- both your assortment of Bowie photos, and the way you take inspiration into your own closet.  Clever to let a necklace stand in for the time!

  • Sterling replied 2 years ago

    I've enjoyed every single word of your tribute.  You write so expressively.  I learned a lot too.  Thank you.  

  • JenniferAnne replied 2 years ago

    In addition to your excellent outfits, thank you for such thoroughly detailed and articulated posts about David Bowie. Much appreciated.

  • Cerinda replied 2 years ago

    Thanks, Liz, for curating these images and writing your fascinating commentary, not to mention sharing your fabulous outfits.  You brought me a great deal of pleasure.

  • ElleH replied 2 years ago

    Thanks for this. I love Bowie's style but never knew about Burretti. Great photos.

  • Suz replied 2 years ago

    Absolutely beautiful. Every image, every word. LOVE your own suit and the beautiful shirt. You look amazing and this has been a brilliant tribute. 

  • TraceyLiz65 replied 2 years ago

    What an amazing tribute. I had been busy running errands with my son before he headed back to college and not active on the forum, so missed the series. I went and read them all and am blown away by how eloquent your style is and how much you poured yourself into this process. Mourning in a beautiful, very therapeutic way.

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