updated 27 Oct 2013, 00:25
Login password
Thu, Oct 24, 2013
The New Paper
Email Print Decrease text size Increase text size
Bowie is Britain's best dressed
by Catherine Robert

It was his iconic campy cross-dressing Ziggy Stardust persona, based on an androgynous rock star from outer space, that set David Bowie's name in stone in the 70s.

But does that justify BBC History Magazine readers' choice in naming him the best-dressed Briton in history?

The 66-year-old musician topped the bizarre poll with almost half of the over-4,000 votes.

Perhaps he won because he is, after all, the only living personality in the top 10, who can still dress up.

He beat the likes of Duchess of Devonshire Georgiana Cavendish (died in 1806), Queen Elizabeth I (died in 1554), King Henry III (died in 1272), parliamentarian Samuel Pepys (died in 1703) and stage actress Ellen Terry (died in 1928).

Wait, BBC History Magazine nominated these figures based on... what exactly?

They were dead way before there were paparazzi, and some before there were even cameras, so how do you know their so-called "sartorial style and impact on British fashion history"?

From paintings in museums, I suppose.

Granted, from his alter-egos Aladdin Sane to The Thin White Duke, chameleonic Bowie is undoubtedly a style icon who has inspired designers from Armani to Jean Paul Gaultier.

But why not consider others, dead or alive, who have made their mark on sartorial history and dressed well in their day?

We're talking about Elton John, John Lennon, Mick Jagger and Freddie Mercury (who cross-dressed too, for that matter). Veteran actress Helen Mirren could have made the cut too.

Perhaps they weren't considered as flamboyant as Bowie, but it's still a headscratcher how they could lose out to the rest in the Top 10.

Maybe BBC should stick to what it does best, which is to "provide impartial public service", not create random lists.

Meanwhile, here are our own more relevant Best Dressed Brits:

David & Victoria Beckham

I'd label them as UK's king and queen of style any day.

Dressed to the nines at almost every paparazzi-captured sighting, the 39-year-old pop star-turned-fashion designer and her 38-year-old football superstar husband are met with dropping jaws everywhere they go.

The Beckhams, with their brood of four children, were named by The Sun as the world's most stylish celebrity family, beating American rivals the Kardashians and the Jolie-Pitts.

I'm sure any pair who rake in a combined £35.1 million (S$70 million) (which they did last year) have a responsibility to look good 24/7. And it's probably an occupational hazard, particularly for Victoria, who has to be on top of her game when it comes to fashion.

Emma Watson

As the face of UK luxury fashion house Burberry and recently the eco-friendly line with Italian fashion designer Alberta Ferretti, it comes as no surprise that the 23-year-old actress has become a significant reference for modern English lass dressing.

And it isn't even something that was just developed.

The former Harry Potter star was named the most stylish celebrity by Glamour magazine in 2010, which raved: "Emma Watson's rise to style fame has been an interesting one... and has re-ignited our love of the classic trench."

Kate Middleton

The Duchess of Cambridge hogged headlines with her chic and down-to-earth fashion sense after her engagement to Prince William.

And even after the royal wedding, the raving hasn't stopped.

While she was pregnant with Prince George, the 31-year-old appeared at different events in maternity outfits that went on to inspire expectant mothers around the world.

Florence Welch

Even her offbeat vintage leanings arguably outweigh that of Queen Elizabeth I, right?

The 27-year-old singer and frontwoman of indie rock band Florence And The Machine told Teen Vogue that her personal style is derived from "Stevie Nicks' romantic 70s white witch-vibe stagewear. I remember her say, 'It's always good to wear something floaty'."

Harry Styles

With that last name, the 19-year-old heart-throb pop star better have some sort of style.

Even if it includes the usual T-shirt and Converse combo, he has proven that he knows just how to dress it up (usually with a blazer) and dress it down (with his beanie).

The One Direction member, nominated for the Best Look at the upcoming MTV Europe Music Awards, sat comfortably in the front row for most of London Fashion Week and has even been championed for his 'Rockstar' edge by British men's fashion mag GQ.


Get The New Paper for more stories.




readers' comments

Copyright © 2013 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. Co. Regn. No. 198402868E. All rights reserved.