We take a look over some of the most inspirational looks conceived by the Pope of Trash
February is the UK’s LGBT history month, an initiative established to increase the visibility of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender communities. In honour of the event, we’re looking to one of our favourite pioneers of gay rights, Burrough's "Pope of Trash" and the celebrator of all things transgressive: the inimitable John Waters. Here are some of our favourite fashion moments from the man who not only inspired the S/S15 Miu Miu collection but remains a voice for countercultural movements and activist for equality.
Divine as Babs Johnson – Pink Flamingos (1972)
Possibly John Waters' most infamously grotesque creation (and there are plenty to choose from) is Pink Flamingos: the taboo-smashing, baby-stealing, shit-eating cult classic. When Divine commands the tarring, feathering and execution of her nemeses while wearing the greatest eyeshadow in living memory and a red fishtail dress, it makes torturous homicide look simply fabulous.
Divine as Jackie Kennedy – Eat Your Makeup (1968)
“The story of a deranged governess and her lover who kidnap models and force them to eat their makeup and model themselves to death,” Eat Your Makeup is one of Waters’ unreleased shorts. Inspired by the Theater of the Ridiculous and a heady cloud of pot smoke, it was the first cinematic depiction of the Kennedy assassination and, filmed outside Walters’ family home in Baltimoure, courted controversy from neighbours and viewers alike. Divine stars as Jackie, wearing a pillbox hat and double-breasted suit, in a wonderfully stylish show of vulgarity.
Susan Walsh as Chiclet Fryer, Divine as Dawn Davenport and Cookie Mueller as Concetta – Female Trouble (1974)
Filmed in tribute to Manson family member Charles Watson, Female Trouble centres around Jean Genet's proclamation that "crime equals beauty" – but our favourite fashion moment comes even before Dawn Davenport makes it to the beauty salon. After her old lover refuses to provide child support for their child Taffy, Dawn turns to a life of stripping, prostitution and petty crime, with the sort of avant-garde headwear that wouldn't look out of place at a Watanabe show. And, as if that wasn't fashion enough, Miuccia Prada used the soundtrack to the film on the S/S15 Miu Miu runway, with eyebrows and outfits in a direct homage to Waters.
Leslie-Ann Powers as Penny Pingleton – Hairspray (1988)
We're handing our favourite fashion moment in Hairspray to Penny Pingleton (sorry, Debbie Harry and Ricki Lake). Her cutesy pigtails, wrapped in bows and paired with a number of matching and creepily Lolita-esque outfits, makes her aesthetic traditional and super saccharine... but still, she transgresses cultural prejudice to promote racial integration by dating a black boy (gasp!). A nod to appearances not being all they seem, she makes us want to accessorize our hair in solidarity.
Traci Lords as Wanda – Cry-Baby (1990)
Starring a pre-Scissorhands Johnny Depp, Cry-Baby is a 50s throwback teen movie with ex-porn star Traci Lords playing Wanda: the archetypal, hyper-sexual pin-up fantasy. Short bangs, red lipstick and leather never looked as good as when she's perched on a car alternating lollipop-sucking with scowling disgustedly; it's the ultimate embodiment of trashiness and self-parodic female sexuality, in the best way possible.