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Hedi Slimane pens Bowie tribute for V&A

By Don-Alvin Adegeest


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London - The Victoria & Albert Museum's thrice yearly publication on the visual arts and fashion sees a photographic and personal tribute of David Bowie by Hedi Slimane in its Spring issue.

The Saint Laurent Creative Director previously photographed Bowie for his own book Stage, a study of photographic collaborations with musicians.

Bowie's Thin White Duke androgynous Thin White Duke character has been a constant source of inspiration, said Slimane in a rare interview in 2004. “This is pretty much the origin of everything I did in design after that, a boy or a girl with the same silhouette.”

Slimane's tribute to Bowie in full

July 1975.

I open my birthday present and I meet David for the first time, at the age of seven. David Live, recorded in Philadelphia one year before, is about to change my life. My sister’s best friend, Veronique Jamin, puts the vinyl on my low-fi turntable. Veronique is fifteen, the prettiest thing. She wears a black vinyl jumpsuit and puts blue glitter on her eyes. She plays and sings along: Aladdin Sane. I am used to seeing her dancing, throwing back her beautiful hair, but this time it’s different. This is about Bowie. I lie down on the bed and observe the double album cover, the powder-blue suspended suit of Freddie Burretti. The pale figure, the heroic posture, the slick electric hair. I look at David. I am not quite sure if it is a boy or a girl. I don’t care. I am the same anyway. From this day, 5 July 1975, Bowie will protect me.

8 June 1983. Hippodrome d’Auteuil. My first concert.

There are about 100,000 people. I am excited and scared at the same time by the raw energy of the crowd. I will never forget how I felt that day. I became a teenager when I walked into that venue. David takes the stage: The Jean Genie. 100,000 girls and boys like an ocean under a storm. Modern Love, and it’s over. I will never be the same. My life was ahead of me.

David died and left us alone. I lost my childhood, I lost my youth. Nothing will ever be the same.

David Bowie
Hedi Slimane