This is the key to Jareth the Goblin King’s character. He is Sarah’s inner fantasy, a figure made up of her daydreams and nightmares. I strove to reflect this in Jareth’s costume. He is seen, through her eyes, as part dangerous goblin, part glamorous rock star. I designed him a riding-crop sceptre, a visual echo of a microphone. Look closely and you will see references to the romantic figure of Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights and a brooding Rochester from Jane Eyre. He is also a transfiguring Scarlet Pimpernel. Jareth is the proud lord of the manor, lord of his goblin domain, with his hounds at his feet, ready to go hunting for human souls. His leather jacket indicates that he is a rebel, an outsider, and dangerous. He is Brando in The Wild Ones. He is a knight from Grimm’s fairy tales, with the worms of death eating through his armour. In short, Jareth needed to be a mercurial figure who would continually throw Sarah off balance emotionally.
When I first met David Bowie, it was in his dressing room. The workshop had made him a little flute out of bone. His immediate response was delight, and he leaped up onto the dressing table, crouched down, and played some notes. It was an astonishing transformation. Before me hunkered an evocation of Pan.