INFLATABLE costumes, glitter, sequins, wigs, make up, neon, lights, colour. All the ingredients for the 13th Alternative Miss World contest which lit up the South Bank on Saturday.
Organised by sculptor, painter and South London-based artist Andrew Logan it was the most glorious evening of fun and merriment and the epitome of fabulousness.
It was staged perhaps appropriately at the Globe theatre. In fact the Bankside stage seemed made for such a spectacle though I’ve never seen it lit up so much like a Christmas tree before!
The proceedings kicked off in style with Andrew as host and hostess being lowered onto the stage via a hatch in the ceiling. He was joined by artist and friend Grayson Perry who was co-host for the evening and between them they introduced the contestants.
For those unfamiliar with the show, it started more than 40 years ago as an opportunity for Andrew to mix his love of parties with fashion. Such was the success of the first event, held at Andrew’s then studio in Hackney, it has now become something of an institution and has featured the well known and unknowns as contestants.
It is not an annual event – in fact it has been five years now since Miss Fancy Chance won the last contest – but such is its popularity it attracts people from all over the world to take part. Indeed, people clamour to be part of it and each time the costumes get more and more inventive, elaborate, flamboyant, fanciful and outrageous.
Like the Miss World shows it features day wear, swimwear and evening wear but unlike the other, this one doesn’t take itself seriously and it is open to all, celebrating diversity and equality.
It is a show to show off in – and this one was no exception. The theme was Neon Numbers and among the outfits to grace the stage was an inflatable octopus, a telephone box and a dinner table complete with chandelier above it. Outrageous? Yes but joyful, funny and hugely entertaining.
In between the costumes there were cabaret acts including Jonny Woo, Eve Ferret, David McAlmont and Le Gateau Chocolat.
The judges – who included Suggs, Zoe Wanamaker and Zandra Rhodes – had a tricky task but they settled on Miss Zero +, also known as Sasha Frolova – who, once crowned was showered in confetti.
It was a glorious and colourful end to an equally glorious evening. There’s no mention of when or if there will be another one. But if there is, I’d recommend going.
The Alternative Miss World was held at the Globe Theatre on Saturday, October 18.