Life’s a Drag: The Surprising Fashion of RuPaul’s Drag Race
Autumn has finally arrived in Los Angeles and it’s about damn time, too. I’m sitting here sipping one of Kevin’s amazing Bellinis at St. Felix Hollywood in a black velvet blazer and jeans, so thankful to finally wear some actual clothes.
It’s especially satisfying to be fully clad having just returned from our usual October trip to San Jose del Cabo, where we lived in swim trunks for a week. I know my kind of swim trunks aren’t for everyone but, as I thought to myself one afternoon while lounging by the pool, at least there weren’t so many obese Americans around this year. Then I glanced over at the swim-up bar where it looked like a herd of water buffalo had decided to take advantage of happy hour.
Once I got home, I immediately jumped into fall L.A.-style with Claire and David’s Annual Pumpkin Carving Party, a red carpet launch for my friend Doug Spearman’s upcoming film Hot Guys With Guns and a screening of Cloud Atlas, which is beautiful and brutal and quite a feat of filmmaking. With all this plus the last presidential debate and all the election stuff, it seemed a challenge to think much about fashion. Hell, there’s so much going on right now I can barely dress myself!
Then I remembered that, in the midst of it all, we were blessed with the premiere of the wildly anticipated RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars. We all know that Drag and Fashion are normally as far apart as, um, two things that are really, really far apart. But there are rare occasions when they align and, when they do, it’s magic. It’s also a very slow news week so let’s just go with it, shall we?
The first queen to make an entrance was the hilarious Pandora Boxx dressed in a chic black and white striped number that recalled Cecil Beaton’s famous costumes for the Ascot scene in My Fair Lady. I knew there was a reason I liked that outfit. She was also channeling everything we saw at the New York shows for spring 2013, so I guess she knew something we didn’t. Also working the look was Manila Luzon with a fantastic white fur shrug over a short black lace dress that was dead chic. The black-gloved hand holding a long cigarette holder would’ve been the perfect complement if it weren’t mounted on the top of her head, but it did make for a great Cocteau moment.
Large-and-in-charge Latrice Royal was next up in a neutral tropical printed jersey frock that made the most of her 400-pound frame and the huge dangling earrings were lessons in accessorizing for your size. My little ray of sunshine Jujubee showed up in a red wig and simple black Donna Karan-style wrap dress like she was out for a business luncheon. Her personality really carried the day, however, when she said, “I like long walks on the beach, big dicks and fried chicken.”
It went pretty much downhill from there. The beautiful Yara Sofia wasn’t wearing anything that could be construed as clothes, and her Puerto Rican comrade Alexis Mateo donned a black PVC corset from a cheap sex shop. Finally, the normally riveting Nina Flowers wore an iridescent green and rainbow jumpsuit with a wide blue belt over it. I guess she thought it went with her towering bright yellow hair but I don’t really know what was happening there. I do know, however, that the Riceñas wasn’t bringing it.
Vegas showgirl Shannel sashayed in wearing a highly structured glittering frock coat and waistcoat combination over a long sparkling lace fishtail skirt and I think silver and black paisley was the theme, but I’m not sure. Latrice described it best in her signature baritone: “That bitch has on EVERYthing!” Then Cher lookalike Chad Michaels showed up in a weird printed jumpsuit and a bad wig that was clearly not this seasoned pro’s best look.
Unfortunately, Pandora Boxx fell victim to the double elimination and won’t be returning next week but I’m hoping the rest of those queens will step it up and inspire us more next week. Like Ru says, “You’re born naked and the rest is drag.”