The internet is an amazing thing when you know what you are looking for. While I was researching TheChicGeek’s Fashion, Grooming & Style Guide For Men, a couple of years ago, I was looking for the designer or tailor of David Bowie’s amazing boxy, grey suit that he wore to the London Live Aid concert in 1985. There was nothing on Google, I spoke to vintage experts, no luck, even asked Antony Price if it was one of his? It wasn’t.
So, what do you do? Anyway, at the recently opened Bowie exhibition at the V&A, there was the suit. It turns out the designer was somebody called Freddie Burretti and it was originally made in 1974 for the Diamond Dogs tour and was later altered for Bowie to wear at Live Aid.
Left & Below - Freddie Burretti's amazing suits for David Bowie with their ultra cropped box shape that look timeless today
But, who was Freddie Burretti? In 1971, he was a nineteen year old clothes designer/tailor who David and Angela Bowie met at the Sombrero - a trendy London gay discotheque at the time. Burretti was responsible for most of the early Ziggy Stardust costumes and also fronted the temporary Arnold Corns band project where he went by the stage name of Rudi Valentino. Bowie's unsuccessful plan, at this time, was for Burretti to be the next "Mick Jagger".
"First of all, you have no idea how handsome this man was. David spotted him at the Sombrero. He was wearing WHITE Spandex hotpants with a navy blue sailors trim and a sailor shirt with short sleeves out of the same white spandex, edged in navy on the collar and sleeves. He looked totally Scandinavian with high cheek bones and lots of blond hair, but he was tall and had big hands and feet speaking of his artistry and physical stamina. Every night he made new clothes to wear. He was so brilliant. He worked for a Greek tailor in the King's Road and he had a machine at home, so he did work there too. Once we met and got to know each other, I brought him down to live at Haddon Hall because it was easier for him to have everyone available for fittings etc. Before they went off on tour, he came for the weekend and stayed for a couple of months and then Freddie and Danyella came with us to New York. Did he design for others? No, not really. Maybe a few things. He was just kept so busy by yours truly that it remained exclusive." - Angela Bowie (1999)
Freddie Burretti died on May 11th 2001 in Paris aged 49. He had lived and worked in Paris since 1991.
That's as much information I can find out on him. He was definitely a talented designer. Making the Live Aid suit in 1974 and then updating it for 1985, shows how ahead his designs were. They are bang on trend now. It would be great to know what Freddie did afterwards in Paris. Does anybody firstname.lastname@example.org