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David Bowie Named Best-Dressed Person in British History

David Bowie
Express, Hulton Archive, Getty Images

Hundreds of years’ worth of royals, gentry, and foppish dandies have been bested by a Thin White Duke.

That’s the verdict from BBC History Magazine, anyway. In a recent issue devoted to determining the best-dressed person in all of British history, David Bowie emerged victorious — and it wasn’t even close, with Bowie taking home an impressive 48.5 percent of the vote.

ABC News Radio reports that the 65-year-old Bowie topped an eclectic field of candidates that included Queen Elizabeth I, King Henry III, and Beau Brummell (whose sense of style is so well-known that he was name-checked by Billy Joel in ‘It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me’). “Here was a creative genius who understood art and design, looked cool, inspired us and upset the establishment,” enthused designer Wayne Hemingway, who nominated Bowie for the ballot. “All these attributes lead to things that drive humankind forward…change.”

While it probably seems a little silly to pit Bowie’s changing fashions against kings and queens, he’s undeniably been one of the most image-conscious stars of the rock era, and his constant dabbling with different looks during the ’70s helped lay the groundwork for the more visually driven pop music of the ’80s and beyond — and of course, when he settled into domestic bliss in the ’90s, it was with Iman, one of the world’s reigning supermodels.

Concluded Hemingway, “Bowie has profoundly influenced so many of us. The first concert I went to on my own was David Bowie’s Aladdin Sane tour at King George’s Hall in Blackburn in 1973. After the gig, I went out, got my hair ‘feathered,’ bought a tight-fitting canary yellow T-shirt from Clobber and Bowie’s album from Ames Record Bar. The next day we read in the Evening Telegraph that he [Bowie] had been banned from Blackburn for wearing one of his costume changes — the white sumo knickers. We all wanted to get banned too.”

Next: Top 10 David Bowie Songs

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