THE EVERLASTING IMPACT OF DRAG ON MODERN STYLE

by Elaine Lok , June 29, 2022
Photo (from top left to bottom right): Courtesy of Private Birthday Party, Beyond the Stage Magazine, Netflix, Ron Davis, Ronan McKenzie, Max Bronner

Drag queens have taken over media and fashion by storm as we see more and more queens sashaying across our social media platforms. The mainstream presence of drag culture can be attributed to the increased support for the queer and drag community. Remnants of drag culture continue to emerge within popularized beauty and fashion trends, such as the Kardashian highlight and contour or the emphasis on the hourglass figure.

However, throughout history, drag culture has not always been celebrated with such pride. Here we unpack the complex history of drag and how it continues to inspire the trends we see today. 

RuPaul – Photo: Courtesy of Logo TV

The history of drag is rooted in the theatrical art form of challenging heteronormative conceptions of masculinity and femininity through exaggerated makeup and costumes. The term ‘drag’ originates from stage actors who wore female dress during their performances. However, the inception of drag balls in the 1880s, which William Dorsey Swann first hosted, were heavily shunned and were often raided by the police. These drag balls continued to evolve in New York City’s underground ball scene, often organized by the Black LGBTQ+ community. Drag queens, such as Marsha P. Johnson, have contributed significantly to the LGBTQ+ movement, later forming the Gay Liberation Front in 1969. 

As the prevalence of drag culture grew, makeup techniques used by drag entertainers, such as cut crease, baking, heavy contour, and overlined lips, were popularized all over social media by makeup gurus. The former Kardashian makeup artist, Joyce Bonelli, highlighted that her contouring techniques were inspired by “drag anything and everything.”

RuPaul Charles’ competitive reality show ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ showcased the talent of drag performers, pushing drag culture into mainstream media. Fashion and beauty are one of the focal points of this show, as drag artists often recreate runway looks with heightened extravagance. In turn, designers such as Jeremy Scott emulate the campy glamour of drag costumes. Below, we rounded up some of the most iconic looks from the Drag Race series, and how you can recreate them with pieces from HULA.

Photo: Courtesy of VH1
Violet Chachki: Season 7, Episode 1 Isabel Marant Christian Louboutin Hermès

Photo: Courtesy of VH1
Violet Chachki: Season 7, Episode 6 La Perla Prada Tory Burch

Photo: Courtesy of VH1
Roxxxy Andrews: Season 5, Episode 11 Sass & Bide Aquazzura Chloé

Photo: Courtesy of VH1
Pearl: Season 7, Episode 12 Rebecca Taylor Miu Miu Sophia Webster

Photo: Courtesy of VH1
Bianca Del Rio: Season 6, Episode 9  Johanna Ortiz Christian Dior Hermès

The influence of drag culture on our modern society is not limited to fashion and beauty. Drag artists break through gender normative boundaries to allow for the full expression of creativity. The power of drag culture is undeniable as former queens of RuPaul’s series have appeared in the campaigns of Prada and Moschino as well as on the runways of Savage X Fenty.

 

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