MAR 20: PROFESSOR OF FASHION IAIN R WEBB
ON THE OPENING PARTY
❏ Just spent a blissed out evening at the V&A David Bowie is exhibition. It blew my mind! It is indeed a remarkable show… and to see all those pretty things that I’ve looked at in photos over and over again over the years is something akin to a religious experience… Not only is the clever curation of memorabilia and associated artefacts an inspiration (a lipstick stained tissue anyone?) but I got to personally thank both Mr Mick Rock and Mr Kansai Yamamoto for their wondrous workloads that helped transport me from village idiot to le freak! As the post-show party relocated from the V&A museum to The Rembrandt hotel across the road, the assembled fashion freaks, who also included fashion writer Judith Watt and costume designer Fiona Dealey, went crazy when Mr Yamamoto, who was responsible for many of Bowie’s flamboyant stage designs, entered. The fervour that greeted the legendary designer was akin to the Bowie-mania witnessed earlier in the evening when guests queued around the block to attend the private view.
“ In the opening room of the V&A’s new exhibition David Bowie Is, there is a four-second clip of film of a 17-year-old Bowie striding through the streets of Soho. The sun is shining, and as he catches sight of the camera he turns his bright blond head and smiles before vanishing from sight. The film was found on an old Super 8 camera. The amateur cameraman had been filming his wife in the Soho sunlight; it was quite by chance that he caught the nascent superstar. What is extraordinary is how, even then, Bowie behaves like the idol he was to become. If a camera is running, it must want to catch him in its lens. The mystery of David Bowie, the confidence that inspired a quiet boy from Bromley to become one of the most significant artists of his generation, hangs quietly over this entire show…
“ Geoffrey Marsh, a co-curator, says he is the first musical figure to be examined on such a scale: “This museum was set up to show how art and design work, to reveal the process. Although there have been a huge number of books about Bowie, they are by rock journalists and may not be of interest to the general public. The reason he is interesting is that he is more than a rock star”…
“ All the exhibits, presented using cutting-edge technology by – among others – the team behind the video projection at the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games, add to that sense of a fertile intelligence, changing constantly, shaping the world. You can see how firmly Bowie was in charge of everything he did.
“ The sheer grandeur [of the final room] brought tears to my eyes. I felt as I felt when I first saw Bowie live – simply glad to be in the same building as a man who could make music like this… ” / Full review at Telegraph online
➢ David Bowie is a retrospective exhibition of 300 possessions drawn from Bowie’s personal archive displayed at London’s Victoria & Albert museum, March 23–Aug 11.