Saturday 1st June

| BY Michella Oré

Ten’s To See: Michael Costiff’s Photographs and Screenprints at Stash Gallery

Look outside – this is your cue to pull out the silk babydoll slips and hip slung jeans for the rooftop cocktails and park picnics practically lining themselves up. While the urge to simply be outside will be strong, the whole of London is bound to pour out into the streets and chances are – you’ll need a reprieve from the sun-soaking masses. If revelling in wild nights filled with a riotous crowd adorned with sequins and beautifully daring makeup looks is your thing, block out some time on your calendar now and make a trip to the Stash Gallery where Michael Costiff: Photographs and Screenprints is now on display.

A living London legend, Costiff’s name has been synonymous with a fashionably good time for near four decades. In 1989, a friend working at the London nightclub Legends, a favourite of the Bowie and the Duran Duran stans, asked Costiff and his wife Gerlinde to host a themed night. This serendipitous invitation would lead to the birth of Kinky Gerlinky, an evening filled with drag queens and fashion aficionados showing all the way out, rowdy music courtesy of Boy George and stories that will forever remain hidden within the jewel encrusted night.

Following the sudden death of Gerlinde in 1994, Costiff retired Kinky Gerlinky but kept the creativity that sparked the iconic club night. He continued to produce screen prints as he had in the disco punk era, when he created flyers for Kinky Gerlinky in addition to designing covers for The Cure and Siouxsie and The Banshees. Always a favourite amongst the fashion crowd, his good friend Rei Kawakubo would ask him to open the Comme de Garçons AW07 show. Costiff would also go on to set up World Archive, a shop of personally selected pieces in Dover Street Market by Kawakubo’s request. World Archive, fans of which included John Galliano and Zaha Hadid, became an extension of the World boutique founded with Gerlinde to promote pieces both he and his wife acquired throughout their travels to New York and far-flung countries like Brazil and Japan. With another birthday just around the corner this June, the photographer/ model/ designer/ socialite shows no signs of slowing down. Costiff has continued to source and create pieces for the various World Archive shops featured across the DSM roster whilst modeling and giving guest lectures to emerging fashion designers. His latest exhibition which opened at Stash last week features a time capsule collection of photos he has taken over the last few decades. An earlier photograph taken of his friend Stephen painted green and wrapped in gauze continues to be the artist’s favourite four decades later.

For those wishing to see visuals of a light-bulb-clad Leigh Bowery and Boy George up close and personal, Michael Costiff: Photographs and Screenprints is a must-see. In addition to the collection of photographs, there are prints Costiff created for each season at Dover Street Market to celebrate the theme of that season’s collection as well posters created for Kinky Gerlinky on display as well. While we can’t teleport back in time, we can appreciate the glamour and buzzing creative energy that Costiff and the community around him managed to cultivate – an energy this man has continued to keep alive for future generations to draw inspiration from.

Michael Costiff: Photographs and Screenprints is on display at the Stash Gallery, Vout-O-Reenees, 30 Prescot Street, London E1 8BB, until June 15. Photographs courtesy of Michael Costiff.

vout-o-reenees.com