Forty years ago, David Bowie stood in front of a screeching London audience and announced his final day as Ziggy Stardust. His mesh, long-sleeve top showed off an abnormally svelte physique; flame-coloured hair grazed his shoulders as shorter strands lifted up to outer space; his brows appeared erased; dark shadow sunk into his eye sockets; and chiselled cheekbones created a haunting shadow exaggerated by women’s blush. It was the end of an era, but Bowie’s strange and beautiful style would live on, permeating teen classrooms and power boardrooms for years to come.
And today, the Thin White Duke rides again. On Jean Paul Gaultier’s runway, models were transformed into pop stars from Bowie to Madonna to Boy George. Glorious, glammy, contoured cheeks—in less costumey incarnations at Jason Wu, Prabal Gurung and Versace—made even baby-faced model Erin Heatherton positively Helmut “the sexifier” Newton–esque.
Off-catwalk, guy-meets-girl bone structure is back. “Women today want to look feminine, but with a powerful effect,” says L’Oréal celebrity makeup artist Karim Rahman, who works with Kate Winslet and Claudia Schiffer. “There’s this touch of boyish attitude.” What’s gone is severe blush sitting on top of chalky skin.
Now, it’s all about a unified, sculpted glow—with help from melt-into-your-skin, mineral formulas. Smashbox’s new Halo Long Wear Blush, $29, is a richly pigmented loose powder that defies mineral makeup’s shimmer- overload reputation—perfect for sculpting the hollows of cheeks. L’Oréal’s new Visible Lift Colour Lift Blush, $17, has a creamy gem-laced texture (made with energizing tourmaline), which turns to veil-like, luminous powder—ideal for highlighting the tops of cheekbones. Now all you need is a little inspiration.
Ziggy-phites will soon flock to London’s Victoria and Albert Museum to visit the largest exhibit ever dedicated to the rock legend. Freddie Burretti–designed bodysuits, a self-portrait and diary entries will be on display March 23–July 28. Examine up close the famous lightning-bolt Aladdin Sane album cover shot by Brian Duffy in 1973, then blast Bowie’s first single in a decade—“Where Are We Now”—and play. —Carlene Higgins
On Creating The Ziggy Stardust Wig
Christopher Martin, hair colourist and co-owner of Shagg Salon in Toronto, worked his magic to bring a dark black wig into the realm of fire-haired Ziggy Stardust. We chatted with him about his process and the red-hair trend.
Tell me about your colour vision for the shoot.
When you’re dealing with David Bowie, especially that Ziggy Stardust period, you want to be true to the colour. He’s a fashion icon! He has two types of red: an orangey red and a darker bluer red. I wanted to create both those colours. What happens is the wig almost has a fire effect, where it’s darker at the roots and lightens as it goes up. With lighting, you can capture both essences.
What were your steps?
Justin [German, co-owner of Shagg] gave me a lace front wig, [which is] hand-stitched with human hair onto a weft. It’s very delicate. I used a low volume peroxide—if you use a higher volume, the wig could distort and come apart—to lift the colour. Then I added a dark blue-red, semi-permanent colour on the whole wig. The wig has become very porous, so you have to do that very quickly. I washed it off really quick, then added a copper gold demi-permanent colour on top of that and left it for 15 minutes.
Is that the technique Bowie would have used?
The thing with hair colour is, when you’re mixing, it’s very scientific. David Bowie is a lighter brown, almost a darker blonde natural colour, so for him, he probably just used a red, because his would have lifted nicely on its own. [Our wig] started off black. Black has the most pigment, so you have to lift that up.
Why didn’t you use a blonde wig, then?
Lace front wigs are the highest quality and they all come in dark. They’re super expensive. They range from $700 to $5,000. But you’re right—I could have started off with a blonde one. It would have been much simpler!
Do you think this look will catch on?
Red right now is a hot colour [and] people can rock the Bowie red. You go with the shorter hair and I think it’s an awesome look—especially in a more fashion realm—because it’s very wearable. It doesn’t look like screechy kid, or anything. It’s fashion. —Interview by Andrea Karr
Sculpting’s New Secret Weapon
1. Work a satin-finish foundation into your skin with your fingers, going over everything with a fibre optic brush, advises L’Oréal makeup artist Karim Rahman.
2. Next, apply matte terracotta bronzer back and forth in a straight line from your ear to the outer corner of your lip using a flat brush.
3. Pick up the fibre optic brush (foundation residue intact!), says Rahman, to blend the edges of your blush for the most seamless, glowy finish.
The Tech Tools: Shu Uemura Natural 10H Brush, $68, is flat to glide along cheek groves. Make Up For Ever 55N Brush, $43, is a goat hair and synthetic blend for an ultra-soft, perfecting finish.
Hair colour, Christopher Martin, hair styling, Justin German, Pantene, P1M.ca; Makeup, Miriam Azoulay, YSL, judyinc.com; Styling, Corey Ng, P1M.ca: Model, Sindy, Ford Models; Beauty Director, Carlene Higgins; Assistant Art Director, Jessica Hotson. Lucian Matis top.