In the summer of 1973, following in the success of his Ziggy Stardust triumph, David Bowie‘s Aladdin Sane album was unleashed on the world—and his Ziggy persona got that much wilder. Bowie had debuted his flaming red mullet the year before, inspired by an image from a Kansai Yamamoto fashion show. “I couldn’t afford the clothes,” he said, “but I could get the hair.” Suzy Fussey, who gave Bowie his famous haircut, did the Ziggy tour, and worked on Bowie’s wardrobe, before marrying Mick Ronson. London makeup artist extraordinaire Pierre LaRoche decorated the star’s head with a ring of rhinestones for the Ziggy tour, then painted the iconic zig-zag lightning bolt on his face for the cover of Aladdin Sane. (He would later create the makeup for The Rocky Horror Picture Show.)
At its most intense, Bowie’s look took two hours to achieve, incorporating techniques Bowie had learned from a Kabuki star.
Below, the incredible man himself singing “Life on Mars?” in full makeup, and, also, a Bowie makeup tutorial, in case you want to walk in his footsteps.