5 Beauty Hacks To Get You Ready For Bowerytopia: TABOO In Brisbane

Our eclectic team of writers from around Australia – and a couple beyond – with decades of combined experience and interest in all fields.

Leigh Bowery's boundary-pushing creativity is celebrated in an extraordinary night of dress ups and dancing, brought to Brisbane audiences by The Stitchery Collective.

There are no boundaries at an event like 'Bowerytopia: TABOO'. Attendees are free to explore their gender, style and identity and dress in their best TABOO club attire, or even get involved in the Annual Bowery Costume Competition.

'Bowerytopia' is in its sixth iteration, and will in 2023 continue its tradition of bringing together a vibrant, inclusive community. . . In the name of the legendary Leigh Bowery. This year, headlining the proceedings is 'Drag Race' alum and Logie-nominated Kween Kong, powerful performance artist Betty Grumble, and icons of queer dance music Stereogamous.

There's plenty to do to get prepped, so here, Kiara Bulley – Co-Director of The Stitchery Collective – lists five essential beauty hacks to get you fully ready for 'Bowerytopia: TABOO'.


The overdrawn lip. The overdrawn lip has been plumping up pouts around the world for decades. Lip liners have been working overtime, trying to replicate the desirable mouths of celebrities such as Marilyn Monroe, Brigitte Bardot or Kylie Jenner. However, no one has stretched and contorted the ratio of lip to face as much as the formidable Leigh Bowery. If you have ever stood before the bathroom mirror, lip liner in hand and asked yourself 'should I keep going? Could my lips look a little bigger?,' Leigh’s answer would always be a resounding 'YES'. To replicate Leigh’s coveted look we recommend that you stock up on your lipsticks, choose a bright red or deep black and layer it on thick. Your lips should take up THE MOST real estate on your face. If your lipstick doesn’t span the entire distance between your nose and chin then you simply haven’t applied enough.

Bowerytopia lips
Leigh Bowery / Bowerytopia


Bald is beautiful. Leigh was famously bald and most of his beauty looks encompassed not just his face but extended over his hairless scalp. For some of his most iconic looks, such as the scalp drip, being bald is a must. To replicate Leigh’s look you have three options;
Bravely shave! This will obviously give you the most authentic Bowery recreation, but is not for the faint-hearted.
Fake it ‘til you make it with a DIY bald cap. We have found some amazing YouTube tutorials on making your own bald caps, as well as other makeup prosthetics, from the comfort of your own home. We suggest you trial this before the big event, to test your skills and gauge reactions to your new look. How about you do a first run at your next family dinner?
Finally, you could simply glue your hair down. Fix you hair in a low smooth ponytail at the base of your neck and build a scalp shaped hair helmet by thoroughly laminating your locks with hairspray or gel. Once dry and secure, just extend your makeup look up past your forehead, painting directly onto your rigid dome of hair. Simple!

Bowerytopia bald
Leigh Bowery / Bowerytopia


Big, bold lashes. The eyes are the window to the soul, and a magnificent soul needs a magnificent frame. Make your eyelashes as big as conceivably possible. Your eyelashes should reach out to caress the cheeks of your loved ones when you lean in for a kiss. They should flutter at the slightest disturbance in the forces around you, alerting you to approaching danger or flying objects. They should fall like a heavy curtain over your precious vision portals, keeping you eyes safe from the adverse effects of glitter-induced glare. If you are not naturally blessed with three-inch lashes, don’t worry, Leigh wasn’t either. Instead, he manufactured his impressive lashes from paper. Carefully cutting them to shape, curling and fringing the paper with craft scissors before gluing them in place with spirit gum. Throw away all of those plumping and lengthening mascaras, this is such an easy and affordable solution!

Bowerytopia lashes
Leigh Bowery / Bowerytopia


Don’t be afraid to colour block. Are you familiar with colour blocking? An outfit of bold, bright colours that define you as chic and minimal, while still being loud and fun. While I don’t think anyone has ever referred to Leigh as minimal, being chic, loud and fun were definitely defining traits of his fashion and beauty. Leigh took colour blocking one step further by moving it onto his skin. The majority of his looks incorporated his body as a canvas for more decoration, and full colour body paint was one of his signature styles. To emulate Leigh’s style, we recommend soft pastel tones of powder blue or moss green, or for the bolder body why don’t you try a canary yellow or Persian blue. Remember, if you aren’t limber, you may need a friend to help paint all of those hard-to-reach places!

Bowerytopia colourblock
Leigh Bowery / Bowerytopia


If all else fails, wear a mask. If big lips, bald heads, paper lashes and colourful body paint all sounds like a bit too much for you, do not fear! Leigh has one final beauty hack to help us all!
Not only does a mask mean that you don’t have to worry about makeup at all, but it also lends you some spicy anonymity. Don a mask and become whoever you want for the night, short circuit social anxiety and cunningly avoid any exes that might be in the crowd. Leigh recommends matching your mask to your outfit. Print on print clashes is always a good idea. And if your mask needs a little bit more razzle, just remember a hot glue gun and sequins are always your friend.

Bowerytopia masks
Leigh Bowery / Bowerytopia

'Bowerytopia: TABOO' is on at The Tivoli (Brisbane) 16 September.

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