In the 1960s, there was a little thing called space travel and some regular ol’ dudes named Alan Shepard, John Glenn, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin. Then André Courrèges created this style called the “space-age” look, and it was all over. Fashion had moved to another planet, to another galaxy.
While the style might not have stood the test of time, one of my favorite little aliens has. From the late ’60s through the early ’70s, David Bowie created a wildly popular character, decked out in sensational outfits, face paint and vibrant red hair. Ziggy Stardust’s spaceship had landed and took popular music hostage. The 1972 album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars is a concept album about a rock ‘n roll alien that comes to Earth during the last fives years of the planet’s existence. However, this all came AFTER Bowie’s 1969 single, “Space Oddity,” inspired by (you already know if you caught the reference in the title of this blog) Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, and way before Exitmusic’s cover of the tune.
“Space Oddity” is about a fictional astronaut named Major Tom who travels into space, eventually cuts off contact with Ground Control, and then just beebops around space for the rest of time. A concept for the song isn’t really necessary this time around, since Mr. Bowie has already done a good job of creating a story. So I’ll try and put Major Tom into perspective and put you in the mind of the character.
So there are you, “sitting in a tin can,” watching the stars through the windows of your space shuttle. You’re engulfed in darkness, everything surrounding you is pitch-black. The stars are your only company. You see Earth, which is everything your buddies said the giant, marbled planet would be. It’s quiet, but you don’t mind. You like the quiet. You always have. People are noisy; people get in the way. But you excuse your wife, Helen–for her you make an exception. She never got in the way.
So when you were told that it was finally time to step into that rocket ship and float amongst the galaxies, weaving through the constellations, you were overjoyed. All your entire life you envied the solitude of outer space; watched as friend after friend donned their space suits and entered the spacecraft. You shook their hands, patted them on the back and cheered, but for different reasons than your wife.
She cheered because you weren’t going with them. You cheered because, well, you had to. You weren’t excited for them–that should be you going up there! But sure enough, it happened. You were even happier when, somehow, you managed a solo trip.
Just you. Alone. In space. Forever.
And once that “forever” entered your head, you knew you’d spend the rest of your life up there. So you say to Ground Control: “Tell my wife I love her very much,” and after you receive the reply, “She knows,” you cut of contact with planet Earth and resign yourself to your new life of solitude.
“You always have your head in the clouds,” your wife would always say. No, you’d think to yourself. In the stars.
And that’s where this futuristic style seems to come from–straight from the stars themselves. The style is all about playing with different shapes and materials–don’t shy away from metallics and embrace those boxy shapes! Space-age fashion has come a long way since the ’60s, so break out that electric blue eyeshadow and those platform shoes you thought you’d never wear. But maybe leave your tinfoil hats at home.
It hasn’t come that far, yet.
Also, accessorize, accessorize, accessorize! Whether it be bangles, necklaces, headbands, goggles, gloves or anything else your little out-of-this world heart desires. Draw your inspiration from space travel, Major Tom, David Bowie, Ziggy Stardust, the planets, the stars, or even other worlds, such as James Cameron’s Avatar.
Or if you want something a little more subdued, try a galaxy print. Really, it’s all up to you. You’re not limited to earthly styles anymore. Look beyond that, look to the universe. There is sure to be something up there that will inspire you.