Let’s face it, drag queens, more specifically queens of color, are the reason we can celebrate pride today. It was Marsha P Johnson, a black trans drag queen, who threw the first brick at the Stonewall Inn, which sparked the gay rights movement in 1969. Drag queens can indeed do it all: not only can they fight for the equal rights of all people, but they can also dance an 8-count followed by a round-off, into a death drop while looking beautiful in an expertly designed garment.
Acknowledgement of the role that drag has played in influencing the fashion industry has come to light, in part through the increased coverage of drag culture by mainstream media. Last year, we witnessed a Met Gala theme surrounded by the idea of drag: camp, propelling the notion that drag as a camp artform can indeed be high fashion. Though it has long been considered an art form, we have the profoundly successful show RuPaul’s Drag Race to thank for drag becoming a center focus in media today. The hit show, which premiered in 2009, was truly a first of its kind. Since then, its audience has grown worldwide with its debut in the UK, Thailand, and now Canada (coming in July).
As self-proclaimed superfans, L’Officiel USA is rounding up the ultimate fashion icons and artists to come out of RuPaul’s Drag Race. On the eve of its 12th season, the Emmy-winning show continues to feature queens who show us not just fashion, but FA-SHUN darling! Scroll through for our indepth guide to our favorite drag artists, and give these queens a follow.
First up is Miss Fame, a supermodel represented by both Wilhelmina and IMG Models Paris. She is known for her stunning makeup skills, which she aquired while training under legend Pat McGrath, and she's and collaborated with Prada, Versace, and Tommy Hilfiger. A season 7 alumni, she is now known best for her breathtaking editorials, innovative entrprenurial efforts, and her massive social media presence.
One word comes to mind when discussing Naomi Smalls: LEGS. Starting from her debut of Rupaul’s Drag Race Season 8, Naomi was on a mission to give us all the fashion-obsessed Bratz Doll fantasy she was serving. Taking inspiration from 90s supermodels such as Naomi Campbell and famous hip-hop artist Biggie Smalls, Naomi is now in turn, a major inspiration to the next generation of drag.
Gigi describes herself as a 'Scandinavian fashion illustration come to life', and is known for her consistent extrodinary looks on season 12 of Rupaul’s Drag Race. Donning a majority of pieces during the competition designed by her mother Kristi, Gigi credits her knowledge of garment construction due to her mother's career in costume design.
Perhaps one of the most unique artists to come from the show, Aja has proved to hone an authentic style and an impressive amount of musical talent. Drawing a blend of inspiration from pastel colors often seen in the Japanese-based “Kawaii” style and Brooklyn street style silhouettes, Aja has become a fashion-favorite contestant due to their fresh takes on styling.
Hailing from the city of Chicago, Shea Coulee’s standout style made a fast audience favorite in season 9. Showing not only an infectious sense of humor, but her competition looks displayed an expert level of storytelling. During one memorable competition, Shea wore a massive hot dog on her head to represent her home town; thus presenting both high camp and high fashion. If you are currently watching All-Stars season 5, Shea will without a doubt be showing up and showing out on the runway.
Describing herself as “the most killingest crossdresser on the planet” in her season 5 and All-Stars 2 of Rupaul’s Drag Race appearances, Detox credits her style inspiration to the likes of Mugler and other iconic designers of the '80s. In the season 5 finale episode, Detox wore a Mugler style dress paired with Hollywood glamour styled hair. The look was so memorable to the judges that it went on to inspire a runway theme for season 7.
As the winner of season 7 of Rupaul’s Drag Race, Violet solidified her flawless taste in styling. She excels in presenting the shape-bearing burlesque silhouette and is popularly known for her dramatic corsetry. Not only did Violet wear gorgeous gowns created by many designers, but she also displayed her own design and construction skills in several competitions.
Perhaps the most impressive thing about Jaida Essence Hall is her exceptional skill as a seamstress and designer. For almost every runway on season 12, Jaida modeled handmade garments that she designed and produced. RuPaul superfans eagerly await what is next from the latest winning Queen.
Plastique Tiara, a previous season 11 contestant became an instant fan-favorite due in part to her stunning beauty. Fans of the show were equally dazzled by her looks, her dance performances, and her seamless ability to incorporate her Vietnamese culture into her runway looks.