I know, because I distinctly remember thinking that Bowie was copping the Sylvian look for the Wild is the Wind video-which Sylvian had been approximating since 81. Even Smash hits at the time took to remarking how Bowie in his early Lets Dance pr pics, was looking like Sylvian.
As more of a Bowie fan, I was rather pissed at our man for being swayed like that, but then I suspect Bowie was more than a little irked- as many of us were- by the media dubbing Sylvian as 'the most beautiful man in the world'.
So it was Sylvian who had the look first, although it could be argued that it was a derivative of Bowie circa Man who fell to earth and the Andy Warhol/Debbie Harry haircut (White at the front and sides, black at the back).
Nice pics. Tiger_rag, you seem convinced that Bowie was copping Sylvian's look but didn't most 'arty' white blokes look like that back then?! Anyway these are fashion pics so they probably had a stylist creating most of the look.
We did Tom, or at least the 78 tour version of Bowie-but it was this picture that was being circulated in early 83 that had me thinking that this was the first time Bowie was aping his followers, as opposed to the other way around:
There's plenty more such as Quiet life in 81, and as a fan of both musicians, I saw these things chronologically, particularly it was noticeable when our man seemed to disappear between SM and LD, only to reappear post Baal bleached and tan. But again, Bowie and Ferry were such obvious influences to Sylvian anyway, that you definitely could argue who was influencing who either way.
Sorry david, I'm still not convinced! As for the notion that Bowie was irked about Sylvian being declared the most beautiful man in the world, well that's just daft! This is what I don't like about the forum sometimes. All the weird analysis and making presumptions about what Bowie thought and felt about this and that, when in fact of course, we don't know much at all. These are nice pics and of their time, that's all there is to say really.
I don't agree that Bowie lifted the look from Sylvian (and who knows how much of this was down to the photographer?). If anything the glasses in this later shoot were more 'fell to earth'. Purely coincidental me thinks.
I never heard Bowie mention Sylvian or Japan ever ! though there was a rumour that Bowie was turned away from an after show party at a Japan gig ,Craig would be better qualified to answer that one ,though I'd guess its just a rumour ?
As for Bowie having his hair like Sylvian ? Bowie's hair is a lot shorter and quite different in texture ,they both have fine pelts though Sylvian's looks courser than Bowie's ?
Just remembered that Bowie was filming Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence around this time in Australia and an island near there, I think, hence the tanned skin and blond hair when he came back with Let's Dance and the SM tour. The Lets Dance video was filmed in Australia too, so, no it wasn't a deliberate attempt by Bowie to look like Sylvian. It was a look that he had for the film. Case closed, I reckon!