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3 Sep

Six cult fashion figures in dire need of a


Famed for monstrously flamboyant looks and controversial performance art, Leigh Bowery originally got here from a sleepy Melbourne suburb called Sunshine, before moving to London in 1980 where, after a short-lived stint working at Burger King, he made his name on the underground club circuit. Between nights at Heaven, Asylum, and his own lurid enterprise Taboo, Bowery began to radicalise his appearance, dressing his hulking 6’1 frame in gimp masks, towering platforms, and ratty pubic wigs. He’d carve holes in his cheeks for safety-pin piercings, gaffer tape his flesh into impossibly feminine silhouettes, and drip his bald head in hot glue. 

By day, Bowery designed costumes for Culture Club, Michael Clark’s dance company, and dabbled in art direction for Massive Attack, later becoming Lucian Freud’s muse and the topic of the late painter’s nude series. In 1994, Bowery passed away from AIDS-related complications, just as combination therapies were starting to delay the lives of those living with HIV. A biopic should really get made if only to see a dramatised version of when, during a performance at an AIDS profit within the early 90s, Bowery turned his back to the audience, bent over, and let rip, spraying the content of his bowels over an unwitting front row.

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