Let’s face it: nobody calls their party Your Dad Sells Avon if they’re not trying to promote an unabashedly up front session. Hence marketing for this one directly aimed at making sure everybody knows the score — a Queer-first, inclusive soiree where everyone is welcome but everyone is encouraged to make an effort in terms of dress code. “Shocking or stylish” is the offer from the creative in charge.
That’s if you’re not planning on heading out naked, wearing only body paint, as at least one of promoter Ali’s friends intends on doing for the event’s launch night, Saturday 24th September. And where better for such a throw down to go down than Star & Garter? Mayfield’s historically unsung but universally beloved den of iniquity is homeliness meeting grunginess, club nights colliding into rock ‘n’ roll, old school pub turned into the most debauched loft party you’re likely to find this side of the 1980s.
“Studio 54 with a touch of Wigan Pier”, is Ali’s description, and the lineup is every bit as enticing as that sounds. Performers like Gert, Alexa Allana, and Ivy Profemme complement DJs in the form of deliriously eclectic player Meme Gold and rising techno-ist This Guy, and the word ‘unique’ springs to mind for more reasons than all that.
Your Dad Sells Avon also lends its name to newly launched, rave-inspired wears, and a chic, minimalist sister clothing collection branded YDSA. Meanwhile, ticket holders enjoy equally eye-catching perks at select stores and salons in and around Manchester to prepare them for the session. All offers are redeemable until the moment doors open on the night, or when the respective shops shut.
“It’s nothing compared to how it was in the 90s, I guess, with club kids who just went out to shock,” Ali says when we ask why he’s keen to bring flamboyance and fetish into the room. “In the 2000s it all became a bit minimalistic. Everything just became downsized. I’m thinking: let’s make it big, let’s bring back Galliano and Jean Paul Gaultier, you know? Theatrical designers, head turning outfits.
“My clothing brands are quite minimal, certainly YDSA, but you have to know where and when to do which style. On a club night I think you should go all-out. I really encourage boys in dresses, girls in outfits people would traditionally consider masculine. If they were doing it in the 1920s, why not now? Let’s keep it alive and not forget about these styles.”
Back to the perks, and those booking a space on the dance floor in advance can claim 10% off items at the Gay Village’s Clone Zone, and the same discount on fetish wears by Jock. Meanwhile, men get a 20% reduction on manicures, pedicures, face and back massages at the esteemed King Street Grooming Salon, while women can head for similar deals at Tone.
“£1 from every ticket also goes to the George House Trust, which provides HIV support, advice and services to improve outcomes. I worked with them during Pride, and together we won Best Community Float, which was amazing,” says Ali, before explaining what he personally hopes to get from the night. “I’m kind of hoping it will just be remembered as the start of something new. Bringing back some of that pre-pandemic attitude of not giving a fuck.
“I want to put artists, and people, on the map that don’t always get put there. Talent that isn’t necessarily matching the stereotyped and standardised definitions of beauty. I mean look at the posters, it’s about celebrating everyone. Do you know what I mean?” Ali’s question hangs for a second, before he puts things better than we ever could. “Really, I just want the whole thing to pop off.”
Your Dad Sells Avon hits Star & Garter on Saturday 24th September, 10PM – 4AM.
Advance tickets, with benefits, are available.