Le Bain

Susanne Bartsch on Her Fantastical Exhibition, 'Fashion Underground'

The Queen of the Night on feathers, fantasy and the beauty of the underground.

LE BAIN: Going through your personal collection of clothes and fashion accessories, is there one special item that struck you and reminded you of something you had forgotten?
SUSANNE BARTSCH: I didn't necessarily "forget" anything, but what I definitely was reminded of while going through all the Mr. Pearl corsets I used to wear is what an event it is getting in and out of them. Talk about fashion as foreplay!

On Top at Le Bain (photo by Neil Aline)

About your first party in NYC in 1986, you said “It was about seeing and being seen." It seems that motto hasn't changed with the parties you do in 2015. On Top at Le Bain is still about seeing and being seen. Do you agree?
Absolutely! Dressing up is a lot of fun and a creative act as well. I feel my events give people a reason to dress up, and somewhere to go in great looks and I will always encourage people who like to express themselves that way! Nowadays, with social media, I like providing a platform where people can show off their looks and still interact with each other in real time and not just through cyberspace - flesh & blood action, as I call it.

On Top at Le Bain (photo by Neil Aline)

Obviously it’s not only about the clothes, the couture labels, fashion - it’s about attitude, style - it’s about fun, but it’s also about performance art. Fashion is just one dimension of your creations. How will you translate this multi-dimensional aspect in the exhibition?
The exhibit is broken down into different areas, and each of them represents a different part of my life. Guests will experience all the different aspects of my style through the years and how it manifests on the street, in my shop, at home, and in the club! Fluff, feathers, and sequins are everywhere in my life.

On Top at Le Bain (photo by Neil Aline)

You said “Style is about expressing yourself.” With ‘Fashion Underground’ what is the main message you would like to express?
The old adage: "variety is the spice of life!" Life is short and not always easy. But it's up to us to do our best to make it beautiful, and enjoy the moments of pleasure we're given! I like to share those moments with others, and 'Fashion Underground' is really a tribute to all the designers and inspiring people who I've been blessed to have around me - all the people who have helped me celebrate the good times and supported me...and also sharing it with the new generation!

Photo by Neil Aline On Top at Le Bain (photo by Neil Aline)

'Fashion Underground: The World of Susanne Bartsch', Special Exhibitions Gallery at The Museum at FIT from September 18 to December 5, 2015.

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