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Tommy Hilfiger

David Bowie's stylish shape-shifting sizzle caught our eye while camouflaging the man behind the art

David Bowie's stylish shape-shifting sizzle caught our eye while camouflaging the man behind the art

David Bowie's half-century career will be defined, as it well should be, by his music output. But it can't be altogether untangled from his signature look — or rather looks, each one telegraphing the arrival of a totally different Bowie: Ziggy Stardust, Aladdin Sane (with the lighting bolt across his face), the Thin White Duke, the minimalist black-and-white version from his Berlin period.

From the vantage point of a cynical 21st century, it's easy to look at the over-the-top costumes, the face paint, the magenta teased-high mullet and the enthusiastic bending of gender as a premeditated, well-executed exercise in branding: shape-shifting sizzle to sell music. Especially...

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