An Interview With David Bowie’s Corsham Street Sessions Stylist, Jennifer Elster

November 22nd, 2021 | by Nick
An Interview With David Bowie’s Corsham Street Sessions Stylist, Jennifer Elster

Jennifer Elster was a key player during The Corsham Street Sessions in 1995, styling Bowie into characters from his 1. Outside album. Jennifer worked with Bowie and a remarkably creative team including John Scarisbrick and Davide De Angelis, in order to bring Bowie’s vision about his concept album to life. Jennifer is also a multidisciplinary artist, musician and designer. She kindly agreed to answer our questions about her time with Bowie and her work below:

Hi Jennifer. You grew up in New York City, correct? What made you become interested in art at an early age and how did you express yourself back then?

Since a child I have obsessively expressed myself as an artist to make way through my surroundings and comprehend my mental landscape.  I began writing at a very young age, and doing experimental performances etc…This has been a constant. As a young teenager I danced at the best clubs in NY, when clubs were a real art form. Keith Haring used to watch me dance. That’s one of many anecdotes. It was a real time.

Who were some of your earliest influences?

Dylan. Bob Dylan was my earliest influence. My dad played him all the time. John and Yoko. Music was and is a big influence in my life.  I don’t remember “art” being a part of my life per se. But then I did find a drawing I did of Picasso when I was very young. And Picasso’s work made me feel sane at a very important time in my life as an adult.

Please tell us about The Development, your art studio.

The Development is a living, breathing installation with an ongoing exhibition about society, culture and the lack of, global adversities, etc…Dinner parties, exhibits, performances and productions. It’s the best spot in NYC. Now The Development is extended to a Window Exhibition in Tribeca that you can walk by. The Window Exhibition will blossom into a full, multidisciplinary, art exhibition sometime in these next months.

Tell us about ChannelELSTER. is an online hub for experimental work. The site, which will include other artists as well, is where you can find expressions from me and the artists I’ve worked with over the years, which has included many. Currently I have been sharing music from my upcoming album of experimental songs and video art. There will be original mini series and documentary films that I’ve directed that you won’t be able to find anywhere else, such as Karen Black’s last film which I did with her before she passed. The prequel to …In the Woods (and Elsewhere) (which is an extensive piece of work) will start back up on the channel and I don’t know where it will end up. The film series features Terrence Howard, Yoko Ono, Temple Grandin, Will Shortz, and Rosie Perez. Wednesday is the day to tune into the Channel.

You haven’t limited yourself to the plastic arts, but also immersed yourself into the world of fashion and design. How did you approach this form of expression and what have you gotten out of it in terms of artistic satisfaction?

When I was a young adult I styled people like David Bowie, Chloe Sevigny, Trent Reznor and Shirley Manson while I was putting myself through NYU where I majored in psychology and writing. When I moved away from fashion I did not think I would return until I started making a pouch collection that helped me to organize my existence,

I think artists like Nan Goldin and Cindy Sherman are right up your alley, is that a fair assessment?

I love both of their work. There are many artists who I respect, and their work is a reference in my mind and at the same time I am very much my own person. My work comes from within. I have spent my life with, and worked with extraordinary people, but I always felt a self inspiration. A deep well from within from my personal life and my views on the world. I’m a hermit.

Can you tell us about your experience with David Bowie? How did the whole collaboration come about?

I was hired to style Bowie for his album 1. Outside which was a journey into characters that he and his team had created. A narrative. We spent a week on set in London. It was awesome.

Apparently Bowie was a little nervous during the photo shoot, perhaps due to the nature of his new work at the time. What was your first impression of the Outside album as it was playing during the session?

It was interesting and fun to be immersed in his work.  I think he was nervous because it had been a while since he had taken a step out. He was a little bit older. Finding his way back in or out.

Can you tell us a bit about your first conversations with Bowie regarding his vision for the characters and the session?

I just remember I picked up my phone and Bowie was on my phone (landline back then). The first album I owned was Changes by Bowie, he was also my first concert as a kid. So it was very exciting for me. David and I immediately clicked. Psychologically we went to many places together in our discussions of the characters and life. I think we were both getting high from good conversation. Perhaps we found a common ground in one another for this iteration of work. The artistic boundaries between us were limitless.

Let’s talk about the characters, it would be nice to break them down if that’s alright with you. It would be fascinating if you could tell us how you approached each one and brought them to life.

I will talk about the  two characters I have recently entangled with and save the others for a future time if you don’t mind.

-Ramona A. Stone.

You’ve mentioned that you felt attracted to this character because of the feelings of desperation it conveyed. Can you elaborate on what you saw in Ramona?

I described Ramona to David, as a “Rawkler,” a term I had created with my friend Michelle in the underground, art scene in NYC. Ramona was a favorite of mine. The desperation. The need. The danger. Ramona was born from scattered insanity. Needed protection. David and I both understood those channels, intensely. Ramona reminded me metaphorically of people I would see in the stairwell of my building when I was a teenager.

-Baby Grace

Please tell us what you thought about this character. And also, I believe there’s a notable anecdote regarding the removal of the outfit right?

Ha ha. Where did you read that ancedote from? I didn’t remember sharing it. Yes I turned Bowie into a young girl and after the shoot I put my foot on his chest while I was trying to pull the titties I glued onto him, off. He was very cute about it. I’ll keep the details of that funny exchange to myself. He had a very good sense of humor. I don’t remember the characteristics of Baby Grace. In hindsight I see that when making him look like a girl, I made him look like me though it wasn’t intentional.

Out of all the characters, which one remains your favorite?


Can you tell us about Get Away From Me, one of your window installations featuring Bowie?

I was contacted to do an interview for Dek in celebration of 20 years since 1. Outside was released so I started painting on a canvas of one of the photographs John Scarisbrick had taken. It seemed fitting to bring Ramona into another dimension with paint and words…. as if an unfinished conversation. Covid 19 hit and everything got derailed, so I premiered Get Away From Me in the Window Exhibition series at The Development gallery at 75 Leonard Street in Tribeca this past summer which was very gratifying.  I thought it would make people happy –after we all had been cooped up in the house so long due to Covid 19, and I believe it did!

I believe you visited the Bowie Is exhibition in Brooklyn and took a very special memento with you in your bag to the exhibit, I couldn’t help smiling when I read what it was. Can you share this tidbit with our readers?

I went to the Brooklyn Museum to see the Bowie exhibit and had seen that they were featuring different works along with his fashion looks through the years and I thought, well I have most of what he wore from the album because he gave it to me, and it would be fun to bring a piece of him.  Never washed, wink. So I brought the dress he wore as Baby Grace (in a plastic bag carefully protected.) It was nice to see some of the work we did for 1. Outside on exhibit and nice to have a moment we shared in my bag.

As you look back on your time with Bowie, what is your fondest memory of having known him and worked in such an interesting stage of his career?

It was most exciting interacting on such a deep level with one another, and bringing his visions to life.  Experiencing him and how he operated. He was such a bright man. So business. So slick. Such a gentleman. And mischievous too.

What can I say, it was Bowie.  Bowie is still one of my favorite artists of all time. I don’t think of him solely as a musician, but as a performance artist. He was a pioneer.  He put windows in walls. He changed the game, and paved the way for so many to express themselves more openly.

What’s next for you in terms of music, art and exhibitions?

The Window Exhibitions at The Development gallery have resumed, and will feature the Baby Grace dress at some point, so stay tuned on for updates. The songs C’mon Now Baby and You Know What Will Happen are now available to stream on all platforms and the videos and upcoming films to view at The upcoming, multi-media, exhibition at The Development will bring together mediums I’ve worked with over the years, including more from my experimental music.

Sign up for updates at, subscribe to YouTube and follow along on Instagram


Many Thanks to Jennifer Elster.

Interview by Francisco Beristain, exclusively for David Bowie News. © 2021.

Edited by Nick Vernon.

Thanks to John Scarisbrick, Davide De Angelis & DEK magazine for use of photos.

Comments are closed.

David Bowie News | Celebrating the Genius of David Bowie