Leigh Bowery (March 26, 1961 – December 31, 1994) was an Australian performance artist, club promoter, actor, pop star, model and fashion designer, based in London. Bowery is considered one of the more influential figures in the 1980s and 1990s London and New York art and fashion circles influencing a generation of artists and designers. His influence reached through the fashion, club and art worlds to impact, amongst others, Alexander McQueen, Lucian Freud, Vivienne Westwood, Michael Alig, James St. James, Boy George, Antony and the Johnsons, John Galliano, the Scissor Sisters, David LaChapelle and Lady Bunny. Many people paid tribute to Leigh while others blatantly stole his looks and costumes.
Bowery was highly intelligent, widely read, and passionate about all forms of artistic expression. While he could be extremely witty and charming, he would often be a malicious fashion bully, intimidating friend and foe alike with his sharp tongue and accusations. These all reflected a sign of the times where “hardness” went hand in hand with the club scene.
Leigh Bowery was at the very heart of London’s alternative fashion movement. We owe a lot to his bizarre and special outlook on life.
Photo by Nick Night. Originally posted at leighbowery.net
Update: Changed the title from “Leigh Bowery started it all”. Our fabulous member Nick pointed out that Steve Strange, and Philip Sallon and the rest of the Blitz Kids were around long before him. Also thank you Nick for pointing out that the original picture was boy George dressed as Leigh.