Leigh Buchanan’s designs on cabaret




Brisbane’s favourite sharp-tongued socialite, Leigh Buchanan, returns in his hysterical hit cabaret that celebrates celebrity and his love of a good stiletto.


Hey Leigh, so your cabaret show The Devil Wears Leigh Buchanan returns by popular demand next week to Brisbane Powerhouse. We understand it’s not a One Direction tribute, but the story of your rags-to-Swarovski crystal life?


How very dare you…designer rags thank you very much!


Of course. How long has performing been a part of your life?


I think fashion was my first love, all the matriarchs of my family were very stylish women, my mother was a home economics and art teacher, my grandmother a hairdresser and amazing sewer, and I had a favourite aunt who had beautiful frocks made every ‘ball season’ and took me to the theatre…I think the performing blossomed from there…as a wee boy I used to dress up (making ball gowns out of bed linen and I’d mince up and down the street giving the neighbors fashion parades…in Ipswich!!!


How did your alter ego Barbra Winsor Woo appear?


Odd as it may sound, I met her while living in Dublin; she drunkenly stumbled out of the audience of a poetry evening I was hosting at my local pub. She, or he rather, was born on Duke of Edinburgh’s 10th birthday and as a tribute his family named him Charles, he went to Churchie and had ‘intimate nip-and-tuck surgery’ after meeting his, now deceased, Chinese husband Win-Chung Woo at the Brisbane premiere of Yentl. At the time Charles was working in Melbourne for Channel Nine in the hair and make-up department.


What has YouTube taught you?


Be careful what you let be filmed. Honestly guys, at least check the state of your bedroom!


What did Project Runway teach you?


That ‘reality television’ doesn’t mean it’s real life! Unfortunately all these shows focus on making good television, rather than finding or fostering amazing talent, such a shame really.


What did staging your own show teach you? Have you tweaked the show since the first run?


It taught me to believe in myself and my inner voice more, especially as it’s such a personal show and putting yourself out there on stage is really much more daunting than you’d expect.


There’ve been a few tweaks, and there’s bound to be a few more…often it’s the bits that go completely wrong that the punters end up loving the most!


We love an up-late show. What should we wear?!


Coco Chanel would have you take one item off before leaving the house (not your jocks!), but I go by the saying that you should always overdress and say you’ve got somewhere better to go next! (But I’d encourage anyone who owns some Leigh Buchanan to wear it – you’ll see why in the show).


What are your top style tips for opening nights?


Not just for opening nights, but all the time, you should always be comfortable – then you’ll always look good…unless you’re wearing stilettos and/or a corset – in which case, no pain no gain!


What’s next? Another cabaret?


I get to that at the end of the show…don’t want to give away too many secrets.


On whom would you like to see your designs?


I’ve loved dressing superstars like Penelope Cruz, Emmanuelle Beart and Tina Arena, but I still fantasise about getting to frock Cate Blanchett.




Favourite designers?


Ever since I first saw Christian Dior’s “New Look” I’ve had a thing for the Dior label, and all the subsequent designers, there’s something about the underlying feminine perfection that always shines through.


Listening to?


George Ezra’s Blame it on Me was the last track on my iTunes.




Quite a few fashion documentaries and French film festival movies at the moment



The Devil Wears Leigh Buchanan at Brisbane Powerhouse Friday April 17 & Saturday April 18 at 9pm. Book here.



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