Outrageously dressed, aggressively whimsical, attention-seeking young nightlife denizens. The epithet “club kids” gained currency in 1988, when a New York magazine cover story featured a posse of young nightcrawlers who managed to parlay their exhibitionist antics and fondness for glitzy, flamboyant getups into budding careers. Paid by promoters just to show up and be ogled by the less-fabulous clubgoers, the most enterprising of the bunch–Michael Alig, Julie Jewels, Michael Tronn, Mathu, Zaldy, Keoki, among others–were taken under the wing of clubowners, earning as much as $1,000 per party.
Outlandishness was the only common denominator in a look that incorporated glitter and androgyny (false eyelashes, bright red lipstick on men), with a heavy dose of theatricality (faces painted to clownish or ghoulish effect). The club kids’ patron saint is the late Leigh Bowery, a London-based Australian who used his impressive bulk as an artwork in London from the early ’80s until… Continue reading