Back-to-back Stevie Stewart and David Holah of Bodymap. Photograph by David LaChapelle.
The ‘80s in Britain is probably best described as halfway between the 8th Circle of Hell in Dante’s Inferno and the far-right panel of Bosch’s The Garden of Earthly Delights. Thatcher was Prime Minister, yet trash lined London streets and AIDS was the word on everyone’s lips.
Somehow, Stevie Stewart and David Holah emerged triumphant from Middlesex Polytechnic in 1982, cutting through the tumult to launch Bodymap. They quickly went from selling the odd piece out of a Camden Market stall, to selling their first collection to Joan Burstein of Browns and hitting NYC hot at Susanne Bartsch’s 'New London in New York' show, proving cool Britannia was still alive and well - with the help of John Galliano and Steven Jones.
Bodymap manoeuvred the creative scene, working with the likes of Charles Atlas, John Maybury, Michael Clark and Les Child - the list goes on - not because of shared 'prestigious' art school backgrounds, but because they were the scene and these people were their confidantes, lovers and co-conspirators.
So, why now? Why Bodymap? Today we are in the grips of another public health crisis, on the brink of another global recession, and our governments are again exemplifying incompetence at the grandest scale - this time two blond, baggy and decoiffé stooges are giving Ronnie and Maggie a run for their money. See the trend?
This begs the question: what can we learn from Bodymap to face our world with the same je m’en foutisme Stevie and David had when they burst onto the scene? To answer this question, I spoke to Les Child - dancer, choreographer and founder of the voguing House of Child - about dance, NYC and Bodymap's part to play; brought a friend on a visual journey all about how Bodymap's radical movement - catch the double entendre - can be positioned in our future; and took a trip around cosmic curves and landed at the Love Ball of ’89, where fashion bridged the gap with social activism and said “enough.”
Read more on Bodymap here.