Watch David Bowie's electrifying performance of Fashion at the 1996 Fashion Awards for a reminder of how he was truly far cooler than us all

David Bowie
(Image credit: Ke.Mazur/WireImage)

As well as being one of the most recognisable and prolific figures within the world of music, David Bowie was often celebrated as a highly influential and ground-breaking master of art and fashion.

A multi-disciplinary polymath, his wardrobe and artistic choices continually pushed the boundaries of contemporary culture, from his collaboration with esteemed Japanese designer Kansai Yamamoto during his early days as the gender-norm-defying Ziggy Stardust, all the way to the mid 90s, where he was notably dressed by Alexander McQueen in one of the most iconic outfits of his career- a long, distressed Union Jack coat.

It's no surprise then, that Bowie was invited to perform at the 1996 edition of The Fashion Awards, an annual coming-together of the biggest names in the creative industries to celebrate the best designers, models and brands.

Held at Madison Square Garden in New York on October 24, the visionary rocker zipped through two high-energy performances on the night, kicking off with the 1980 classic Fashion. A fitting song for the occasion, Bowie reconfigured the track with a more industrial and modern edge, all while strutting around the stage in the aforementioned McQueen coat (the same coat which features on the album artwork of his 1997 album Earthling), and he dipped into that album for his second song, the highly-experimental Little Wonder.

Accompanying Bowie was his live band, formed of keyboardist Mike Garson, lead guitarist Reeves Gabrels, bassist/backing vocalist Gail Ann Dorsey and drummer Zachary Alford. 

Prior to the performance, the evening's host, Heather Locklear, paid her respects to Bowie's influence on the industry, noting: "At the intersection of fashion and music stands one of rock'n'roll's icons. No single force in the music industry has used style and fashion more creatively than our next performer, he is the master of reinvention".

Other acts to perform that evening included Garbage, Bee Gees, Bryan Adams, and Toni Braxton. Elton John was also honoured, and won the Viewers' Choice award for most fashionable artist of the year.

Check it out below:

Liz Scarlett

Liz works on keeping the Louder sites up to date with the latest news from the world of rock and metal. Prior to joining Louder as a full time staff writer, she completed a Diploma with the National Council for the Training of Journalists and received a First Class Honours Degree in Popular Music Journalism. She enjoys writing about anything from neo-glam rock to stoner, doom and progressive metal, and loves celebrating women in music.