I was not aware of the ‘Alternative Miss World Competition’ until recently and it feels like it should be something I learned about at school, albeit a very bohemian lefty school where cross dressing, outrageous make-up, sexual cheekiness and crazy loud eclectic music are the norm.
The Alternative Miss World Competition first took place in 1972 when maverick artist Andrew Logan put on what is basically the anti-Miss World, taking the elements of the better known version but subverting it so that anyone could enter regardless of age, sex, size, shape, sexuality and talent, it was all about expression and inspiration. Maybe the best part of the contest was that it was not so much about winning but celebrating diversity, creativity and fun, Logan created something amazing and all because he never knew of any reason to not express himself
Every entrant created wonderful home made costumes in the theme of morning, day and evening wear. Each had weird and wonderful names and walked the catwalk to fantastical music and no little amount of camp draggy theatre.
Andrew Logan was both host and hostess with his half and half costumes, usually created by 60’s design legend Zandra Rhodes, each year he would have a variety of co-hosts ranging from Devine to Julian Clary to Richard O’Brien to the latest with Ruby Wax. The likes of Leigh Bowery took part, Andy Warhol was a judge and it was so popular David Bowie could not even get in.
What made it even more interesting was that it was always a family affair with his 4 brothers mucking in to build, manage and even drag up for the show. His sister has been the only contestant to enter every time it has been staged.
The tiny screen 2 at the ICA was the perfect setting to watch The British Guide To Showing Off with fellow dress fancy fans, we were even in the company of two people who had attended many of the events throughout the years as contestants. If you missed it then gutted darling!
It puts to shame the fancy dress parties I go to… although my 30th is around the corner so maybe not…. watch this sparkly space!