Chics, style geeks and superfreaks gathered at Shoreditch Town Hall in London’s East End for the second annual Bistrotheque Drag Ball (or B.A.D. Ball 2, as it was suggestively dubbed), thanks to Bistrotheque's Pablo Flack and David Waddington. A la Paris Is Burning, "houses"—House of Fierce Nest, House of Dubois, House of Egypt, House of BoomBox—showed off their catwalk struts, with a panel of judges awarding points, hollers, claps and whistles to those who worked their look, aura and glamma.
As one would expect, all possible combinations of glitter, gaffer tape, ghetto gold, white face paint, postbox-red lipstick, veils and Olympic-wear (gearing up for 2012!) charged down the runway. Jonny Woo served as the evening's host(ess) with the most(ess), while also keeping collisions to a minimum—quite a feat considering some of the categories: Celebrity Community Service, 'Polo and Pearls' International Young Royals and Banjii Cunt.
So how does a judge even begin to compare these femmes when each is her own work of art? Giving it their best shot were fashion writer, broadcaster and presenter of The Clothes Show, Caryn Franklin, Yasmin Sewell of Browns, Dazed & Confused creative director Nicola Formichetti, designer and DJ Hazel Robinson, Mulberry's creative director (until January) Stuart Vevers, Lulu Kennedy of Fashion East, i-D fashion editor Francesca Burns, Henry (House of) Holland, British Vogue’s Harriet Quick and the incomparable make-up mistress Pat McGrath.
The social show surrounding the runway show was almost as entertaining. Among a front row that included Joe McKenna and gallerist Maureen Pailey, Fran Burns worked black-patent fetish heels so vertiginous they made Balenciaga kicks look like training shoes. In a Swarovski crystal-encrusted House of Holland dress (that read: WHO NEEDS A HUSBAND I'VE GOT HOUSE OF HOLLAND), she was accessorized much of the evening by Holland himself, dapper in a gray vest and tie-dyed tee. Monochromatic sartorial wunderkind Gareth Pugh made his entrance with P.i.X music zine editor Hanna Hanra, in coordinated Stars ’n’ Stripes outfits, which brings us to the second event of the evening: Pugh's new do. Out with the perm and in with ceramic straighteners—because he’s worth it. Yet no one can compete with hairchitect Guido Palau, who not only has one of the best heads of hair in London but also the most striking pants of the night (from Comme des Garçons' Rolling Stones collection). All the while, publicist nonpareil Mandi Lennard—in Roksanda Ilincic, completing her look with a clipboard—worked the room, dutifully keeping all in check. (Where’s the Vuitton mono-mink, Mandi?)
And finally, for the afterparty, the jubilant fashion pack crammed into East End boozerie The Joiners for still more shenanigans.
—Dean Mayo Davies. Photos by Alistair Allan of Dirtydirtydancing.com