A toast to the show’s 200th episode. Here are wild RuPaul’s Drag Race fashion moments that made us all gasp for air!
The runway is one of the competition’s highlights. However it is decked out every season and in different parts of the world, the contestants wipe the floor clean with their creative interpretations of an episode’s category. RuPaul’s Drag Race has offered a treasure trove of incredible moments that altered how we look at drag and the fashion world. Some moments opened our eyes to all the possibilities of what the art form is. Some moments broke our perceptions and expectations that broadened our views. Meanwhile, some turns were so impactful they are now intertwined with the glorious fabric of queer pop culture.
In 200 ground-breaking episodes (only from the main USA show, minus the All Stars), a few brave and ultra-creative mavericks shook the living gay out of us and sent us straight to fashion nirvana.
Raja’s Extravagant Drag (season 3, episode 4)
Raja was the first fashion savant to strut the Drag Race runway. She was the first Ru girl—in my opinion—that was able to communicate her expression using fashion rather than costumes. This 18th-century French look was translated by wearing pants instead of a full ball gown with a swagger only Raja can present.
Manila Luzon’s Extravagant Drag (season 3, episode 4)
The day that camp met glamour. Manila Luzon was inspired by the national costume of Miss Philippines Carla Balingit when she competed in Miss Universe 2003. The result was this iconic pineapple gown that exemplified Manila’s kooky personality and dazzling taste in fashion.
Sharon Needles’ Apocalyptic Couture (season 4, episode 1)
This was one of those extra special moments on TV that physicalized shock, wonder, and excitement. It was like seeing a peacock unfurl its majestic feathers for the first time. The doors that Sharon Needles opened for the monsters and freaks of the queer community will always be remembered.
Willam’s Pride Boat Parade Extravaganza (season 4, episode 6)
As a true fashion girl, Willam brought designer pieces to the show, but this one made a glorious TV moment: she wore a blue Dolce & Gabbana coat that was made famous by Sarah Jessica Parker in Sex And The City (season 4, episode 2, the one where Carrie Bradshaw fell on the runway). This gave us some multiverse of fashion and TV madness vibes.
Detox’s finale look (season 5, finale)
Always one with well-realized concepts, Detox stunned everyone, making us believe for a second that our screens might be glitching.
Milk’s Party Box look (season 6, episode 2)
Beard on the runway? Groundbreaking! No, really. Milk opened the discussions that allowed us to peek into other drag dimensions, further widening our understanding of the meaning of drag. Milk made us realize and accept that gender-bending can still be bent, disfigured, and twisted to one’s desire.
Courtney Act’s Animal Kingdom Couture (season 6, episode 9)
Victoria’s Secret models could never! When Courtney Act opened her wings, the earth found peace and love. Wow, wow, wow, wow.
Violet Chachki’s Fall Lewk (season 7, episode 1)
Was this the first reveal of Drag Race? I mean, WERQ!
Violet Chachki was—and still is—a fashion powerhouse, always sublime, exquisite, and jaw-droppingly flawless in how she displayed herself. She was able to bridge the worlds of drag and fashion to perfection. Remember Ariana Grande’s reaction when the visual of Violet’s 18-inch waist went down the runway? How about when she upstaged the entire season 8 cast in an impeccable House of Canney creation that perhaps gave her the most memorable fashion seat in all Drag Race franchises? She’s that b!
Bianca del Rio’s passing-of-the-crown look (season 7, finale)
Bianca del Rio isn’t known to serve fierce, snap-your-fingers-to-the-heavens fashion, so we were unprepared when she came out like a glitter trophy goddess.
Symone’s Fascinating Fascinators (season 13, episode 9)
Always steeped in references that championed blackness, Symone satisfied our fashion thirst with every episode, but this Black Lives Matter-inspired look triumphed over everything. We salute a queen who uses her platform to address important issues to fight for justice and equality.