I have always been a little fascinated by Bowie. In my chosen profession, I cannot help noticing people’s teeth. As a young man, Bowie’s teeth were the only aspect of his androgynous looks which weren’t quite perfect. His canines were crowded and unaligned, his two front teeth overlapped and his bottom teeth were crooked.
In a curious way, his teeth suited him, especially for some of his more extreme incarnations, such as Ziggy Stardust. Somehow they supplemented his striking image.
One of the cultural talking points of 2013 was the David Bowie exhibition at the V&A. It attracted huge numbers of visitors to the South Kensington museum.
The V&A exhibition highlighted his fascination with Lauren Bacall and one of his album covers was created in homage to a black and white photograph of Bacall. Famous for her sultry looks, she does not show her teeth, and neither did Bowie on his album cover.
Bowie’s musical and theatrical experimentation was enhanced by drugs, according to the media, and he was a smoker too. Inevitably his teeth suffered. It’s not hard to find pictures of Bowie with his teeth looking stained and badly in need of attention.
After he got together with the supermodel Iman, his looks changed. Around this time, he clearly invested in some extensive dental work. Pictures of Bowie with Iman show them both smiling confidently, with white aligned smiles.
Bowie has been an inspiration and role model for decades. The exhibition at the V&A, mounted in the last years of his life, affirmed his iconic status.
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Piano Piano – cc by 2.0 edited
Annie Warhol – cc by-nc-nd 2.0