Susanne Bartsch

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Susanne Bartsch
OccupationEvent Producer
Partner(s)David Barton (m. 1995–2010)

Susanne Bartsch (born 1952)[1] is an event producer whose outlandish, over-the-top monthly parties at the Copacabana in the late 1980s united the haute and demi-monde, and made her an icon of New York nightlife. "Ms. Bartsch's name," according to The New York Times, is "the night life equivalent of a couture label, thanks to the numerous extravaganzas she staged in cities from Montreal to Miami."[2]


Born in Switzerland, Bartsch left her family in 1979 at the age of 27 and moved to London, where she became an intimate of such celebrities as Jimmy Page and Malcolm McLaren. After moving to New York City in 1981, she opened a clothing boutique in SoHo that gave exposure to new British designers and labels, including Vivienne Westwood, Leigh Bowery, BodyMap, John Galliano, and milliner Stephen Jones.[3] She also helped launch the careers of young American designers Alpana Bawa and Michael Leva, and was a precursor and influence upon the Club Kids.

By the late 1980s, the economy was slowing, and edgy clothing was becoming harder to sell. Bartsch began organizing weekly parties at prominent New York nightclubs, such as Savage, Bentley's, and, finally, the Copacabana. Bartsch created the Love Ball in 1989, which raised $2.5 million to fight AIDS.[citation needed] For the first time, elements of Harlem ball culture were introduced to a national audience.

Bartsch took part in philanthropic work, running annual holiday toy drives along with her partner David Barton, whom she married in a lavish wedding in 1995. The couple separated in late 2010.[4]

In 2015, The Museum at FIT mounted an exhibit celebrating Bartsch's costumes.[5]


  1. ^ Hoffman, Barbara (April 6, 2018). "Where club kid Susanne Bartsch gets her wigs". New York Post.
  2. ^ Galtney, Smith (April 28, 2002). "A Night Out With: Susanne Bartsch; The Celebutantes Return". The New York Times.
  3. ^ "BodyMap – Shaping the 1980s / Personalities / People / V&A Channel". Archived from the original on 2014-02-21. Retrieved 2014-02-03.
  4. ^ Murphy, Tim (April 27, 2011). "The Man Who Made Working Out Cool". The New York Times.
  5. ^ "Fashion Underground: The World of Susanne Bartsch". Retrieved 2015-10-26.

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