You may know Violet Chachki as the winner of season 7 of RuPaul’s Drag Race. However, since winning the reality show, the 27-year-old has flourished in the fashion world, making regular appearances both on the sides of, and on the runways. A drag queen since the age of 19, Chachki consistently pushes gender boundaries while staying on top of the latest trends in her own, Chachki-esque way.
Chachki comes from a twist on the Russian word ‘tchotchke’, an item that serves little purpose except for decoration, and this sums her up perfectly. A visual delight, with her signature waspish waist (a mere 19 inches at its smallest) and burlesque dressing, Violet’s brand is cemented in Bettie Page, dominatrix-inspired aesthetics. She embodies all that is brilliant about fashion, the maximalism that others so often shy away from, and the ways in which the fashion industry continues to push the boundaries of what the world considers ‘the norm’.
Fashion has always valued the chameleons, those that come off as androgynous. Think of recognisable faces like Agyness Deyn and trans supermodel Andreja Pejić. However, it’s only recently that queer figures such as drag queens have been recognised as legitimate in the mind of the fashion world.
Often seen as a form of entertainment through their shows, RuPaul’s Drag Race brought attention and success to ‘fashion queens’ such as Chachki and Miss Fame who both went on to become household names in the fashion world. In their drag forms, it would be odd for them to model men’s fashion, whilst women’s was usually too small (drag queens often have to buy or create custom garments).
Though designers now see the value in dressing drag queens- drag has developed a cult following recently, and often can match outfits to their overall aesthetic. Chachki’s latest one-woman-show, A Lot More Me, featured custom Swarovski crystal eye appliqués designed in collaboration with Pat McGrath, and even two unique Prada gowns, inspired by Art Deco legend Erté. Pictured below in one of the ensembles, Chachki told Vogue that the pieces were ‘completely hand-beaded’, speaking volumes about the lengths at which designers now go to in order to dress her.
Violet doesn’t look like a biological woman- and that’s part of
the appeal. Painting herself to look like whatever she feels in
the moment, through this she transforms into an almost
cartoon-ish extension of herself and embodies her drag
persona, a catty, confident woman. Brands select her to work
with because she is larger-than-life, as her YouTube channel
displays. Set up just last year, here Violet exhibits her makeup
prowess through tutorials, discusses her love of fashion, and
gives us a behind the scenes look into some of the craziest
moments of her life.
From her first major modelling job as the first drag queen in a
major lingerie campaign for pin-up brand Bettie Page Lingerie to
her appearance at the 2019 Met Gala dressed in a custom
Moschino black glove gown, it’s clear that Violet is changing the
world of fashion for the better. With brands becoming more
open to working with drag queens and other members of the
LGBTQ+ community, Violet Chachki is a rising star, and a name
to keep your eye out for in 2020.