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wanna be queen of the night? follow our Leigh Bowery club kid guide

Once upon a time getting into a London nightclub was similar to going for a job interview: terrifying. If you were not well connected, or more importantly, if you didn’t look the part, you would hear these crushing words: “Please exit to the left... Don’t let the door hit you where the good Lord split you.” However, when Leigh Bowery was in town, the welcome wagon was always rolled out, red carpet, paparazzi and all. But when you’re capable of giving birth to a fully-grown woman live on stage, wear headdresses made out of toilet seats and use shaving foam as an accessory – all at the same time – why would anyone (especially ‘Blitz’ club owner Steve Strange) deny you entrance? The term ‘Club Kid’, died out in the early noughties, with all its glitter, talon toenails and polka dot make-up. But dearly departed Leigh Bowery is a name that will never fade to grey. On the week of what would have been his 53rd birthday, we pull out all the stops. Here are our Top 5 Leigh Bowery couture clubbing moments. Here’s how to be queen of the night!

Text Adam Fletcher

  • Belt up!

    Are you looking to take your favourite winter dress into the coming seasons? Or make your daytime smock a night gown? What would Leigh do? Toughen up and get heavyweight, obviously: add two belts, a military helmet and a luchador mask. It’s time to get into the fashion ring. It’s time to go haute wrestling. Ding, ding, ding.

    Belt up

  • What's your party trick?

    From an early age we are told that everyone has a purpose in life, a unique gift or special talent. Lily Allen can fit her fist in her mouth, Amy Winehouse could snort vodka, but Leigh Bowery ‘gave birth’ to his wife Nicola Bateman on stage at Wigstock in 1993. Beat that Gaga. Although in theory we should be abandoning our thermal underwear now that spring is here, brrr! It’s cold outside! To help you keep out the elements and for a fresh spring look, try putting them over your face. Caution: you may end up looking like an extra from Aphex Twin’s Windowlicker.  

  • It's tassel time

    Tassels continuously pull on fashion’s heart-strings. The Leigh Bowery way? Wear them on your eyes and pair them with a Big Bird-coloured kimono and an embellished corset. Sparkle from sunrise to sunset and stride into the club.


  • Playing God

    When you’re Leigh Bowery, dressing up as a Vishnu-hippy-punk hybrid comes all in a day’s work. Pictured here with Guy Barnes, a.k.a. Trojan, the pair along with David Walls became known as the Three Kings of the London club scene. Bearing gifts of pearls, platforms and pink silk flares, Leigh, we praise you.

    Playing God

  • Get Into the Groove

    Everyone loves a show of PVC, right? But why leave it at just a skirt? Take it all the way up and up and into a body suit. Feeling hot under the collar yet? With one padded leg, padded hips, enormous pointed breasts, and a long black ponytail on top, Leigh transforms into the perfect PVC Madonna. Be a girl gone wild and polish yourself off with ‘Mr Sheen’.  

    Leigh Bowery