“Just turn on with me and you’re not alone…” That lyric, from “Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide,” might be as close to a manifesto as David Bowie has ever uttered. Indeed, for all the revolutionary tunes and culture-crossing costumes, perhaps his greatest legacy is that he made it okay to be different. Very different. “I suppose that has been Bowie’s most sizable impact,” reckons Victoria Broackes, co-curator of the Victoria and Albert Museum’s spectacular “David Bowie Is” exhibition, which opened March 23. “Kids saw Bowie on Top of the Pops and their lives changed.”
The show traces the career of arguably the greatest rock star ever by theme, rather than chronology. Most dazzling, as one would expect, are the costumes: the alien-like Ziggy Stardust bodysuits, Kansai Yamamoto’s androgynous Aladdin Sane creations, and on through to the iconic and nervy Alexander McQueen Union Jack coat.