Andrew Logan's Alternative Miss World

A fancy dress contest inspired by Crufts (a British dog show), established by Andrew Logan in 1972

In the early 1970s, the artist Andrew Logan had an idea for a party. It would not be about beauty, it would be about transformation. The Alternative Miss World would allow anyone to enter: men and women on equal footing: racial parity in a pre-cosmopolitan London; sexuality set free in a million guises. And everyone would be judged on the same criteria as the dogs at Crufts: poise, personality and originality.

Since the first event in Andrew’s flat in Hackney, in 1972, the Alternative Miss World has set the stage for some of the world’s most creative spirits to gather — with past guests, hosts and competitors including everyone from Derek Jarman, David Hockney and Zandra Rhodes to Grayson Perry, Divine, Leigh Bowery and the stars of the Rocky Horror Picture Show. Accent Issue Two pays tribute to this long-running celebration of self-expression by unearthing some gems from the photo archive. 

Andrew Logan at the first Alternative Miss World in 1972

Andrew Logan at the first Alternative Miss World in 1972

The Alternative Miss World, est. 1972

1972

Where — Downham Road, Hackney

In attendance — David Hockney, Derek Jarman, Keith at Smile, Hermine Demoriane

Winner — Miss Yorkshire (Patrick Steed) 

Fact — Jack Hazan filmed the party and used a sequence as the party scene in his film about David Hockney, A Bigger Splash

Miss Holland Park Walk (Eric Roberts), the winner in 1973 Photograph: JD Matthews

Miss Holland Park Walk (Eric Roberts), the winner in 1973
Photograph: JD Matthews

1973

Where — Downham Road, Hackney

In attendance — Zandra Rhodes, Ossie Clark, Angie Bowie, David Bailey, Richard O’Brien, Tim Curry and Little Nell

Winner — Miss Holland Park Walk (Eric Roberts) 

Fact — The first AMW crown, made of cardboard and UHU glue, was presented here. The sceptre was wire and tinsel

1975 

Where — Butler’s Wharf, Bankside

Theme — Wild

In attendance — Fenella Fielding, Malcolm McLaren, Vivienne Westwood

Winner — Miss Crêpe Suzette (Derek Jarman)

Fact — Miss Holland Park Walk threw Molly Parkin in the pool

Luciana Martinez de la Rosa, 1978 Photograph: Robyn Beeche

Luciana Martinez de la Rosa, 1978
Photograph: Robyn Beeche

1978

Where — A circus tent, Clapham Common

Theme — Circus

In attendance — Divine and Molly Parkin (hosts), Duggie Fields, Michael Fish, Joan Bakewell

Winner — Miss Carriage, Miss Linda Carriage (Stevie Hughes) 

Fact — AMW goes public. A film of it landed Andrew in court

1981

Where — The Grand Hall, Kensington Olympia

Theme — Imperial fantasy/royal imperial

In attendance — Janet Street-Porter, Fran Fullenwider

Winner — Miss Aldershot (Michael Haynes) 

Fact — Just before the Falklands War. The winner, in military dress, was accompanied by the Massed Band of the Irish Guards

1985

Where — Brixton Academy

Theme — Water

In attendance — Billy Connolly, Naim Attallah

Winner — Miss R.O.S.A.B.O.S.O.M. (a robot built by Bruce Lacey) 

Fact — Andrew’s brother Richard designed its waterfall backdrop

Fat Gill and Leigh Bowery in 1986 Photograph: Robyn Beeche

Fat Gill and Leigh Bowery in 1986
Photograph: Robyn Beeche

1986

Where — Brixton Academy

Theme — Earth

In attendance — Leigh Bowery, Koo Stark, John Maybury

Winner — Miss National Geographic (Jenny Runacre)

Fact — The local paper in Chislehurst, Kent, protested against the event being held there, claiming it would “bring AIDS” 

Andrew Logan and co-host Rula Lenska in 1991 Photograph: Robyn Beeche

Andrew Logan and co-host Rula Lenska in 1991
Photograph: Robyn Beeche

1991

Where — Business Design Centre, Islington

Theme — Air

In attendance — Rula Lenska, Brian Eno, Nick Rhodes

Winner — Miss Gale Force Wind (Burnel Penhaul, “the Transformer”) 

Fact — Held in daytime in the year the museum opened

Kinky Gerlinky Cabaret, 1991

Kinky Gerlinky Cabaret, 1991

1995

Where — The Grand, Clapham Junction

Theme — Fire

In attendance — Anita Roddick, Andrey Bartenev

Winner — Mademoiselle Jean D’Arc (Molly Burnel) 

Fact — The year the Russians came, led by Bartenev. “They are particularly supportive,” says Andrew

1998

Where — 291 Gallery (a converted church), Hackney

Theme — The void

In attendance — Janet Turner, Maggi Hambling, Rajeev Sethi

Winner — Miss Pani Bronua 

Fact — This time the Russians won it. Pani Bronua, a woman in her seventies, wowed the crowd with her personality

2004

Where — The Hippodrome, Leicester Square

Theme — The universe

In attendance — Amanda Barrie, Patricia Quinn, Julian Clary, Matthew Glamorre, Michael Kostiff

Winner — Miss Secret Sounds of Sunbird Rising, CCCP 

Fact — The show was dedicated to Andrew’s parents

2009

Where — The Roundhouse, Camden

Theme — The elements

In attendance — Ruby Wax, Ken Russell

Winner — Miss Fancy Chance (Veronica Thompson) 

Fact — The run-up to the event was recorded for Jes Benstock’s 2011 documentary, The British Guide to Showing Off

2014

Where — Shakespeare’s Globe, the South Bank

Theme — Neon numbers

In attendance — Grayson Perry, Angela Flowers, Daniel Lismore

Winner — Miss Zero + (Sasha Frolova)

Fact — Andrew’s sister, Janet, competed in her 13th pageant. She hasn’t won — yet

The Alternative Miss World will return in 2018