On June 25, the first episode of the French drag queens contest RuPaul's Drag Race was unveiled on France Tv Slash.
Among the twelve candidates with the theatrical look, La Grande Dame captures the attention of fashion aficionados.
To enter the show, she does not wear a suit, but a beaded dress by the young Swiss designer in sight, Kevin Germanier.
"A story of friendship" tells us the latter.
If the designer invokes personal ties, he is far from the only one to have taken a passion for drag queens recently.
We can even speak of a phenomenon.
In recent years, Violet Chachki has walked for Richard Quinn, American Drag Race finalists for lingerie shows Savage X Fenty, Rose and Punani have posed for Claudie Pierlot,
Gigi Goode and Symone have become Moschino muses… The collaborations are too numerous to list.
Fashion has simply taken hold of drag queens.
Can we, for all that, speak of a simple idyll?
The love of fashion designers for this universe is not new.
Two, in particular, have always maintained close relations with transformism: Thierry Mugler and Jean Paul Gaultier.
The former, inseparable from the entertainment world, featured drag queens in his review
The second has never hidden his fascination for Divine, the muse of filmmaker John Waters, and made Conchita Wurst walk on her catwalk in 2015. The terrible child of fashion was also among the members of the jury for the first episode. of Ru Paul's Drag Race France.
A dream for candidates who, like many drag queens, owe a little of their art to its parades.
Violet Chachki on the catwalk of English designer Richard Quinn.
(London, February 19, 2022.) Abaca
” to podiums
Because transformism has always been inspired by fashion, a related and complementary discipline.
“These are two fantastic and fantasized visions of women that challenge established codes,” analyzes the duo Rose and Punani.
Fashion and its mythology are also the basis of a whole section of drag culture: the
Practiced by homosexual communities in the United States since the 1920s, balls are competitions between drag queens.
Each is judged, according to its category, on its appearance, its gait and its steps of
The dance, popularized by the song
of Madonna, imitates the poses of the famous magazine.
The teams are called “houses”, and even their surnames are borrowed from couture: House of Lanvin, House of Gucci, House of St. Laurent… Organized like families, these houses give their name to the members who find themselves scratched in this way.
A sort of premonitory practice.
Read also "I faced the monster hiding under my bed": Nicky Doll, the drag queen at the controls of Ru Paul's Drag Race France
creature , the drag queen was propelled onto the front of the stage by the American RuPaul's show.
Broadcast since 2009, and today at the head of 24 Emmy Awards, reality TV has highlighted the many facets of this total practice, which involves mastering makeup, drama, dance, singing, and, of course, styling.
The most virtuoso in the field are awarded the label of "
queen of fashion, editor's note)
“Americans like to put labels on,” laughs Nicky Doll, the first Frenchwoman to participate – and to wear this label.
After weeks of style demonstrations, the specialists in the field come out of the show with worldwide popularity and aura.
Irresistible for brands seeking visibility.
It-girls – almost – like the others
Violet Chatchki, Miss Fame, Gigi Goode, Symone, Aquaria… None of the fashion-savvy drag queens has less than 1 million Instagram followers.
Popular and flamboyant, they represent a new asset for brands that invite them for their campaigns, in the front rows or on the catwalks of their fashion shows.
Nicky Doll and Rose and Punani agree: drag queens have become it-girls – almost – like the others.
Because, unlike most Instagram muses, drag queens are artists who have built their own aesthetic universe.
Characters, take it or leave it.
“The brand is me,” recalls Nicky Doll.
To work on good terms with these new stars, fashion is well aware of this, it must be ready to respect their identity.
“I'm not at all interested in using a drag queen as a clothes rack, explains Kevin Germanier, it's a creative dialogue.
You have to respect the character, the art.”
And even if the collaborations are placed under the sign of lightness and laughter, on the side of the drag queens, mistrust is in order.
Rose and Punani, who have also worked with Patou and Rouje, particularly appreciate the approach of the brands that give them carte blanche.
They do not fail to underline: “We remain vigilant, because there are abuses”.
"Brands are attracted to the phenomenon because they want to capture a new, more fluid and flamboyant masculinity," analyzes fashion semiologist Caroline Courbières, professor at the University of Toulouse.
But not only.
“We make people laugh, think, we offer inspiration… And then we have a point of view: we are activists”, recalls Nicky Doll.
Wouldn't collaborating with a drag queen be the opportunity to restore her image?
The boundary between representation and appropriation is tenuous.
", the fact of associating with figures or events of the LGBTQI+ community to benefit one's reputation is the main drift that hovers around these collaborations.
But it is very well identified by the first concerned.
“It happened to us to say no.
We don't want to be '
',” acknowledge Rose and Punani.
To defend artists and develop their partnership prospects, agencies are multiplying.
Pop Models, for example, was born just a few months ago, to "promote the professionalization of the art of drag" and counts in its ranks a large part of the cast of Ru Paul's Drag Race France.
Suddenly overexposed, the drags are getting organized.
The fact remains that when creators and drag queens talk about their relationships, they portray a world of “exchanges,” populated by “allies,” “muses,” and lots of “fun.”
And too bad for those who don't play the game. As long as there are, under these corsets, hearts that beat for fashion, and in the houses, designers who dream of spectacle, it's a safe bet that drag and fashion will live a beautiful love story.