‘Transformer’: David Bowie’s rejection of 1960s counterculture fashion through his glam reinvention and stylings in the years 1969–1972 | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 2, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 2050-0742
  • E-ISSN: 2050-0750



David Bowie’s Glam transformation between 1969 and 1972 was a personal reinvention that saw his music move away from psychedelic folk and the show tunes of his first two albums to the staging of his alter ego Ziggy Stardust on the album Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars. Music was only one ingredient in this transformation. In this period, Bowie’s image also changed radically. His 1969 stage persona of a bubble-perm haircut and hippie psychedelic shirts was replaced by the space-alien imagery of the character Ziggy Stardust: a sequinned onesie, platform-heeled boots, dyed red spiky hair, foundation, rouge and lipstick, which helped to shift Rock music in a theatrical direction. The years under consideration, 1969 to 1972, are important because Bowie’s metamorphosis from hippie love-child to alien, Glam rocker epitomize the cultural shift in popular music fashion from the 1960s to the 1970s. Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars along with Roxy Music’s eponymous first album are the death-knell for 1960s popular cultural fashion. The 1960s look of love-beads, kaftans, denim and long hair was replaced with a more self-consciously theatrical look in the 1970s: Bowie’s performativity in 1972 was a dressing-up in flamboyant costumes in stark contrast to the 1960s street fashion of dressing-down in faded denim and corduroy.


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  • Article Type: Article
Keyword(s): 1960s; 1970s; Bowie; bricolage; counterculture; glam performance; hippy
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