Would you like to see a youthful Hugh Laurie trepidatiously traipse into Leigh Bowery’s art-filled London apartment and then accompany him as he checks off a fun-filled London Fashion Week itinerary? Wait, stay with us … while a Weimar-style version of “Walk on the Wild Side” plays in the background, presumably to underscore Laurie’s fish-out-of-water discomfort? Then look no further than this 1986 British TV special on Bowery and his life in fashion, which attempts to introduce the colorful clubland denizen to thousands of confused Britons.
With his overdrawn makeup and trippy spray-paint-like hairdo, Bowery isn’t terribly concerned with pleasing anyone, and that seems to include the viewers of this segment. In a limo en route to a BodyMap show, he explains, “Fashion’s a little bit of a problem for me, because you have to appeal to so many people, and I like appealing to maybe one or two … I’m only interested in maybe 20 people’s opinion of me.”
But whether or not he cares, the designers and club kids he encounters seem to greet him enthusiastically, and Bowery returns the excitement — hooping, hollering, and singing along to the soundtrack from the audience of the BodyMap show. Later, the odd couple of Laurie and Bowery head to Taboo, the Boy George–beloved club that Bowery owns. This obviously necessitates an outfit change. Says Bowery, “I always look at clubs like a catwalk — I’ll make a special garment [for them].” Despite all the frenetic merrymaking, he unwinds at the end of the day in a very ordinary fashion — with a soothing bath.