Fashion and the Fleshy Body (In a White Jumpsuit): David Cassidy as Unsung Nonbinary Style Icon
Keywords:Gender, Nonbinary, Unisex, Fashion, Pop Culture
In March 1972, the pop idol David Cassidy played a sold-out show at Madison Square Garden dressed in a white lace-up jumpsuit. Although this outfit has been widely documented by fans, photographers and journalists, it has not been as widely discussed as signature costumes worn by his equally famous contemporaries — David Bowie and his man’s dress, for example, which helped make the musician the androgynous style icon he is known as today, or Elvis Presley in his iconic white jumpsuit, which redefined ideas of masculinity in American culture. Yet when discussed through Joanne Entwistle’s framework of dress as an embodied practice — David Cassidy wearing this particular jumpsuit, at this particular event — the individual garment regains a deeper meaning. Through an analysis of the jumpsuit and dress as an embodied practice, the stage is set to show Cassidy as a powerful conduit of social change who subverted gender norms in mainstream American culture in the late 1960s and early 70s — an unlikely but worthy nonbinary fashion icon.
Abramovitch, Seth. “Hollywood Flashback: 50 Years Ago, America Loved The Partridge Family.” The Hollywood Reporter, September 26, 2020. https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/movies/movie-news/hollywood-flashback-50-years-ago-america-loved-the-partridge-family-4064741.
Arbuckle, Alex. “David Bowie’s dress: A powerful step forward for androgyny.” Mashable, November 5, 2015. https://mashable.com/archive/david-bowie-dress#mD43miLFSkqD.
Boggs, Bill. “Bill Boggs Corner Table: interview with David Cassidy.” March 28, 1999, Video, 32:10. https://youtu.be/zng53EPNuxs.
BowieBible.com. “Bowie: ‘I’m gay and always have been’,” August 27, 2018. https://www.bowiebible.com/1972/01/22/bowie-im-gay-and-always-have-been.
David Bowie Youtube Channel. “Let’s Dance.” Official Video, posted June 24, 2018, Video, 4:08. https://youtu.be/VbD_kBJc_gI.
DavidCassidy.com. “Concert Audio: Madison Square Garden, New York City, N.Y.” http://www.davidcassidy.com/fansite/ConcertPages/1972March11_ConcertAudio.html.
DavidCassidy.com. “David’s Choker ‘LUV’ Beads ad.” Tiger Beat Magazine, November 1971. http://www.davidcassidy.com/fansite/InPrintPages/Mag1971Nov_TigerBeatOfficialPFMag_6.pdf.
DavidCassidy.com. “I’m David’s Double.” Tiger Beat Magazine, February 1972. https://www.davidcassidy.com/fansite/InPrintPages/Mag1972Feb_TigerBeat_17.pdf.
DavidCassidy.com. “Look what’s happened to David Cassidy.” The Sydney Morning Herald, October 24, 1974. http://www.davidcassidy.com/fansite/InPrintPages/News1974Oct24_The_Sydney_Morning_Herald.pdf.
DavidCassidy.com. “Terry Wogan Show — Britain: Premier of The Last Kiss video.” February 20, 1985. http://www.davidcassidy.com/fansite/TvFilmPages/WoganShow.html.
David Cassidy Official Facebook Page. “A newspaper article from October 24, 1974.” Post & comments, September 29, 2022. https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=pfbid02znBC9LkDNRCdCCAfsaMoyVaeRbgBi6wTvVbpQb3g21Yhg55aZi8CHCxU6cvHJwLjl&id=125896720838014.
Deffaa, Chip. “David Cassidy… Behind the Scenes.” Theatrescene.net, January 1, 2020. http://www.theaterscene.net/columns/david-cassidy-behind-the-scenes/chip-deffaa.
Didion, Joan. “The Women’s Movement.” The New York Times, July 30, 1972. https://www.nytimes.com/1972/07/30/archives/the-womens-movement-women.html.
Domanick, Andrea. “David Bowie: How the glam rocker pushed the boundaries of gender expression.” Interview by Madeleine Brand, May 24, 2021. https://www.kcrw.com/news/shows/press-play-with-madeleine-brand/blm-politics-music-oc/david-bowie-man-who-sold-the-world-gender.
Doty, Alexander. “There’s Something Queer Here.” In Out in Culture: Gay, Lesbian and Queer Essays on Popular Culture, edited by Corey K. Creekmur and Alexander Doty, 1–16. Durham: Duke University Press, 1995.
Douglas, J. Susan and Andrea McDonnell. “Musical Celebrity,” Celebrity: A History of Fame, 13 (2019).
Entwistle, Joanne. “Fashion and the Fleshy Body: Dress as Embodied Practice.” Fashion Theory, 4.3 (April 2015). https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.2752/136270400778995471.
Flaccavento, Angelo. “Unisex, Genderless: Let the Debate Ensue.” ZoneModa Journal, 12.1 (2022). https://zmj.unibo.it/article/view/14902/14299.
Gill, David. David Cassidy: Weekend at Wembley. TV episode, BBC, March 22, 1973. https://youtu.be/eYsGLjjrMMY.
Harmetz, Aljean. “Two Partridges in a Money Tree.” The New York Times, September 5, 1971. https://www.nytimes.com/1971/09/05/archives/two-partridges-in-a-money-tree.html.
Heckman, Don. “Cassidy Is Focus Of New Pop Trend.” The New York Times, March 12, 1972. https://www.nytimes.com/1972/03/12/archives/cassidy-is-focus-of-new-pop-trend-partridge-family-star-puts.html.
Hill, Daniel. Peacock Revolution: American Masculine Identity and Dress in the Sixties and Seventies. London: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2018.
Hills, C. Megan. “Remember when Elvis Presley’s white jumpsuit changed how men dressed forever?” CNN Style, June 22, 2022. https://www.cnn.com/style/article/elvis-presley-fashion-remember-when/index.html.
Honoring David Cassidy’s Love and Light Facebook group. “I wonder if anyone else copied his hairstyle?” Facebook status & comments, October 7, 2018. https://www.facebook.com/FansofDavidCassidy/photos/a.291695731249326/578626609222902.
Lansure’s Music Paraphernalia. “The Partridge Family/Shirley Jones/David Cassidy Memorabilia.” https://www.lansuresmusicparaphernalia.blogspot.com.
Morgan, Piers. “PCNN: Piers Morgan interviews David Cassidy.” Filmed April 22, 2014, Video, 27:21.
Negrin, Llewellyn. “Maurice Merleau-Ponty: The Corporeal Experience of Fashion.” In Thinking through Fashion: A Guide to Key Theorists, edited by Agnès Rocamora and Anneke Smelik. London: Bloomsbury, 2016.
Oltuski, Romy. “Celebrity Secret Crushes.” Harper’s BAZAAR, January 29, 2015. https://www.harpersbazaar.com/culture/features/g5190/secret-crushes-0215.
Paoletti, Jo B. Sex and Unisex: Fashion, Feminism, and the Sexual Revolution. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2015.
Pegg, Nicholas. The Complete David Bowie. London: Titan Books, 2016.
Rogers, Katie. “Was He Gay, Bisexual or Bowie? Yes.” The New York Times, January 13, 2016. https://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/14/style/was-he-gay-bisexual-or-bowie-yes.html.
Synnott, Anthony. “Shame and Glory: A Sociology of Hair.” The British Journal of Sociology, 87.3 (September 1987): 381–413.
Taylor, Angela. “David They Yelled and Parents Quietly Paid.” The New York Times, March 13, 1972. https://www.nytimes.com/1972/03/13/archives/-david-they-yelled-and-parents-quietly-paid.html.
The Ultimate Fashion History Channel. “20th Century Style Icons: David Cassidy.” Posted May 30, 2017, Youtube, Video, 7:46. https://youtu.be/AM2p3OyGqeI.
Votka, Steff. “Alessandro Michele’s Gucci by the Numbers.” Vogue, June 1, 2016. https://www.vogue.com/article/alessandro-michele-gucci-statistics.
York, Nancy. “David Cassidy Hair Flip.” Posted May 25, 2018, Youtube, Video, 0:46. https://youtu.be/bwj-x2xLoSQ.
How to Cite
Copyright (c) 2023 Pune Dracker
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.