The Globe and Mail: You are now entering Bartschland

As the queen of New York nightlife in the eighties, Swiss-born Susanne Bartsch turned New York on its ear when she introduced some of Britain’s edgiest fashion to the city and then staged events where avant-garde style enthusiasts could strut their stuff. A member of the “New Romantics” style movement when she moved to London from Switzerland as a teenager in the late ‘70s, Bartsch was all about celebrating herself via fashion, and after moving to New York in the early ‘80s, she made it her mission to encourage others to do the same. Her philanthropic efforts for the creative gay community are legendary – her famous “Love Ball” events raised millions for the AIDS cause. Now the Museum at FIT in New York is paying homage to Bartsch’s “art as fashion” philosophy with a exhibit entitled Fashion Underground: The World of Susanne Bartsch. Featuring more than 100 outfits from her personal collection, the show includes designs by Thierry Mugler, Vivienne Westwood, Jean Paul Gaultier, Alexander McQueen and John Galliano. I spoke with Susanne Bartsch about the glory days of expression through fashion, her staunch support of the ravaged gay community, and the inherent joy in simply dressing up ...