Susanne Bartsch has been the queen of New York City nightlife since the 1980s when she first became famous for spectacular parties, where a diverse crowd brought fashion to the level of performance art. Her most important party was undoubtedly the 1989 Love Ball, a pioneering AIDS benefit that brought the fashion world together. The Love Ball was followed by other parties, which ultimately raised more than $2.5 million for AIDS research and advocacy. Over the years, Bartsch has had a profound impact on the world of fashion and visual culture. She has been a retailer, a fashion show organizer, a muse, and a catalyst. As Holly Brubach wrote in her 1991 New Yorker profile, “If there is a theme that runs through the various jobs Bartsch has held, it is perhaps a fascination with the way people present themselves—with the clothes and the part they play in people’s imagination.”
Fashion Underground: The World of Susanne Bartsch features approximately 80 looks from Bartsch’s personal collection of clothing and accessories, including designs by Rachel Auburn, Body Map, Leigh Bowery, John Galliano, Jean Paul Gaultier, Thierry Mugler, Mr. Pearl, Vivienne Westwood, Zaldy, and many others. Dazzling color photographs allow readers to witness the incredible art of transformation.
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