Growing up amidst the burgeoning New Romantic scene, David liked nothing better than put on a bit of slap and wrap himself in curtains. Growing lads will do naughtier things, but his strict Catholic parents still got upset about his habits and eventually asked him to leave the suburban home.
Landing in a North London bedsit at the age of 17 proved no bed of roses, but he was free to do what he wanted. If hairdressing for £40 a week got him nowhere fast, at least teaching himself to sew outfits pointed him in the right direction.
Taboo had unfortunately already closed down but The Bell, The Camden Palace, The Jungle, Pyramid and The Scala (the all-nighter in Kings Cross where I used to DJ weekly), all became homes from home for him. Other enticing late ‘80s hotspots, such as Ascencion, Anarchy, Sacrosanct, Amen and Roma followed and Cabaret patronized them all whole-heartedly.
By then David was already a proper clubland icon, thanks to the stunning looks he worked week in, week out. The staple “bumps” look, the spiky canary, the blue lady (inspired by Tretchicoff) and the Myra Breckinridge (cum-Liechtenstein pop art) outfits are still vivid in club punters’ memory. Also notable are the Queen Elizabeth incarnation and the “Marilyn à la Warhol” look, which boasted a cerise face, yellow hair and the Seven Year’s Itch dress.
In the ‘90s, he collaborated with Leigh & Nicola Bowery on designs for Michael Clark, and he made corsets with Mr Pearl for Mugler, Galliano and McQueen. Besides making film costumes, he designed Erasure’s stage outfits with Dean Bright, then joined forces with Mike Nichols to painstakingly recreate the iconic ‘80s gear worn by Bowery, Boy George, Steve Strange and co, for Taboo the Musical.
Cabaret dropped out of the club scene in the mid-90s when Smashing, Matthew Glamorre’s club, ended its run. He felt times had changed and he’d sort of lost interest. Still, he kept the wardrobe and the long overdue comeback can never be ruled out.
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