Fave Five…

…reasons to remember Leigh Bowery, having reached what would have been his 50th birthday…

  • In 1985, he started Taboo, quite possibly the wildest, most hedonistic club that London, and the world, has ever known. Almost two decades later, Boy George’s musical of the same name, which included a character based on Leigh, became a West End hit.


  • He sat several times for Lucian Freud, who, after seeing him at Anthony d’Offay gallery in 1988, became obsessed with capturing his tragic-comedic, noble-grotesque split personality.

  • Alexander McQueen was known to be in the audience at least once, producing inspiration that would find its way into many a collection. Leigh’s influence can also be seen in the work of John Galliano, Antony Hegarty, Cindy Sherman, David Lachapelle, Yasumasa Morimura, and Lady Gaga.

  • When Mick Jagger thought he was dancing too close at a party and shouted, “Fuck off , freak,” Leigh replied, without hesitation, “Fuck off, fossil!”

  • In 1994, in one of his last and most legendary performances, Leigh gave “birth” onstage to a fellow performer, who had been curled up inside a costume belly, held upside down with a harness. This would later be reprised at Wigstock.

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