Divine and Leigh Bowery Continue to Inspire the World of Fashion

Posted on June 23, 2020

How freaking fabulous is this? Kittens, of course we’d normally post fashion collections under our Fashion or Whiteboard tags, but it’s Pride month, we’ve got a book to sell (transparency in blogging!), and this could not be more perfectly suited to the Legendary tag. After all, we are here to talk about two legends.

 

 

Leigh Bowery and Divine are both featured on the cover of Legendary Children (Leigh on the upper right, Divine on the lower right) and, as with every other person depicted on the front and back, they are there because we specifically asked for them. It’s tough to narrow down all the people whose stories we told in the book into a space as small as a book cover, but we chose the various queens and queers depicted because we thought each one of them brought something different to the table of queer culture.

 

 

 

Divine seemed a no-brainer because she was once the most famous drag queen in the world and one of the very few drag queens of the 20th Century who actually became famous as a drag queen, largely by becoming the face of trash cinema of the ’70s and ’80s.

 

 

 

Leigh Bowery was a nightclub impresario and performance artist who sort of worked within the realm of drag while pushing the boundaries of the form as far as they could go. He continues to influence the world of high fashion over two decades after his death from AIDS complications, most recently in the designs of Richard Quinn, one of which Cardi B wore to Paris Fashion Week, in a very Leigh sort of way:

 


Which makes a perfect segue into the point of this post, which is that Divine and Leigh are both still influencing fashion, specifically by having two Pride collections released in their honor this month. Loewe? You’re up first. Let’s hear it.

 

Loewe x Divine

Coming soon, a limited edition collection and digital exhibition that celebrates freedom and self-determination, inspired by trail-blazing performer, Divine.

“It bursts with color, trash, fantasy, outrage, glamour, and freedom,” says Jonathan of the exhibition. “That’s what we tried to capture in the collection that never was, which is so different from what we usually do at LOEWE: a merging of our sense of ease and Divine’s proclivity for camp. There are patent platform pumps and a bevy of feathers splashed onto a miniskirt, or edging the sleeves or hem of a maxi t-shirt. We printed Divine’s provocative face on tops, dresses and even on an apron, and we used the posters of his performances as allover prints on t-shirts and dresses.”

“I think it is a timely initiative, in that it is a celebration of creative freedom and challenging the world order,” says Jonathan. “That’s what Divine was all about: creating his own incredible world, no matter what. Now more than ever, that’s what we all should do.”

 

How trashy-fab is that? Also, we want one of those Divine-faced mannequins. Most of the collection is for online viewing only, since the Rona shut the whole thing down, but a couple of the t-shirts and a tote bag will be available for purchase. We hope the “IS THIS ‘WOMAN’ THE FILTHIEST PERSON ALIVE?” is one of them because we’d kill for it.

Not to be outdone, Supreme is over here getting their Bowery on:

 

 

 

Supreme x Leigh Bowery Capsule Collection

With all facets of his life and work, Bowery sought to disrupt and stimulate. His performances in the 1990s became more bodily and grotesque. At the 1993 iteration of downtown New York drag festival Wigstock, Bowery famously “gave birth” to his assistant and wife Nicola Bowery, who burst from his dress covered in slime. That same year, Bowery and artist Richard Torry formed a band, Minty. At one Minty show, a naked Bowery, suspended upside down, sang as he smashed through a glass panel. “There’s hardly anything I forbid myself to do,” said Bowery. “I always want to do more extreme things and be in contact with more extreme people and ideas and practices.” Bowery died from AIDS-related complications in 1994.

This Spring, Supreme has created a collection featuring imagery of Leigh Bowery. The collection consists of an L/S Shirt, two Hooded Sweatshirts and a T-Shirt.

A portion of the proceeds from the Leigh Bowery collection will benefit Visual AIDS. For more information, visit: visualaids.org

Available online only June 25th.

While we think we’ll pass on the “C*nt” hoodie, we wouldn’t mind the kitty t-shirt. Really, we’re just thrilled to see those two queens continue to fascinate and inspire because we have always been fascinated and inspired by them ourselves. Leigh might not have found a mainstream retail fashion collection using his face to be all that flattering an idea (he loathed the idea of selling his own designs) but Divine would’ve LOVED it.

 

 

 

“Our book Legendary Children: The First Decade of RuPaul’s Drag Race and the Last Century of Queer Life is on sale now!

The Los Angeles Times called it “a nuanced exploration of the gender-bending figures, insider lingo and significant milestones in queer history to which the show owes its existence.”  The Washington Post said it “arrives at just the right time … because the world needs authenticity in its stories. Fitzgerald and Marquez deliver that, giving readers an insight into the important but overlooked people who made our current moment possible.”  Paper Magazine said to “think of it as the queer education you didn’t get in public school” and The Associated Press said it was “delightful and important” and “a history well told, one that is approachable and enjoyable for all.”

 

 

 

[Photo Credit: Jonathan Anderson/Instagram]

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