While the club kids of the ’80s and ’90s hung out at Limelight in New York’s Flatiron District, today’s are at Le Bain, Ladyfag’s Battle Hymn (at underground techno haven Flash Factory) or at Tyler Ashley’s monthly Baby Tea at Wise Men on the Bowery.
These new club kids’ costumes are intricate; their faces transformed by make-up. Some are like Elizabethan futurists, while others exhibit fluid gender expression in S&M-inspired paraphernalia. Call them New York’s Club Kids 2.0.
There’s a recurring name behind the creation of these elaborate costumes, accessories, and wigs: artist and designer Vincent Tiley.
Tiley’s clients recall the club kids of decades past. Take Bailey Stiles, who’s part of the futuristic/avant-garde drag collective Chez Deep (which also counts Alexis Penney and Colin Self as members) and Merrie Cherry, who said “drag is the new rock star.” It’s little wonder Tiley was drawn to dressing drag queens – he went to the Maryland Institute Culture of Art in Baltimore where John Waters and Divine are in the air. “It’s so much a part of that city,” he says.
He recommends other designers dress drag queens: “They do it the most justice!” he says. “I really get a huge thrill out of it.” But beyond the New York drag scene, Lady Gaga wore BCALLA x Vincent Tiley during her ARTPOP Ball tour in Japan.
Now based in New York, Tiley is originally from Charleston, West Virginia, and on the contact page of his personal website, he invites queer youth to reach out to him. “I wrote that immediately after this past election,” he says, “because I remember growing up, being in high school during the Bush administration and feeling incredibly isolated. When I was growing up, I just wanted to know that this one aspect of myself was legitimate and existed and had a history and a community.”
Fruiting Bodies curated by Collin Pressler, Feb 18 – March 18 @ Iceberg Projects Chicago