“When you’re wearing something plain, it really is quite important that you cheer it up with something. I’m referring to: appliqué. It was big in the fashion world in the 80s. I’m trying to bring it back.” And so begins a fashion masterclass by performance artist David Hoyle’s alter-ego ‘Divine David’.
As part of a series first aired in 1998, Divine David Presents followed the self-proclaimed ‘transgender terrorist’ on a six-part journey as he sought out the answer to questions such as “Where is the avant-garde?” on the streets of London, and offered up gloriously camp, tongue-in-cheek lessons on subjects including contemporary dance, make-up and modern art.
In this particularly spectacular fashion episode, David shows us how to take an outfit from plain-Jane to something a little more extravagant — that is, as the artist himself puts it, “perfect for any visit to, say, a banqueting suite or a masonic lodge.” Starting with an understated brown shirt and some plastic beads, the offbeat artist elevates the ensemble into the “realms of high fashion” using objects easily found around the home — including plasters, some tin foil posing as earrings, and a tea towel ("can you see that there's a Dutch influence?”)
“The satisfaction you get when you walk down the street knowing that you have transformed yourself, and you have inspired others to do something similar, is quite, ego-gratification wise, very good,” concludes David, who didn’t stop at just one foray into fashion. Years later, he would become muse — alongside husband and BUTT MUSCLE singer Christeene — to Rick Owens, who once described the pair as his “Beyoncé and Rihanna”, with the designer creating costumes for a run of shows Hoyle performed at The Vauxhall Tavern in 2016.
Take a look at (and perhaps some tips from) the video above.