The Most Stylish and Stunning Drag Instagram Looks of 2017… So Far

Ever since the rise of social media and queer-centered programming such as RuPaul’s Drag Race (airs Fridays at 8 pm if anyone is interested). The global appreciation for drag and drag culture has shot to astronomical heights over the last few years. However, drag has been an important form of entertainment and expression since ancient times. These days, drag and drag culture have expanded to become a very inclusive and supportive network of artists that bring their own styles and flavours to the broad spectrum of drag culture. For this round of Top 10 Instagram Moments, we’ve found a group of queens and drag artists whose stunning personal styles and personas have made for some really amazing Instagram moments. Here are the most stylish and stunning drag moments of 2017 so far!

@ALLABOUTVALENTINA

Valentina‘s has quickly stolen the hearts of drag race fans and social media perusers alike. With her infectious personality and uplifting optimism, Valentina has already shown herself to be a clear front-runner among the shows pick of stunning queens… and only two episodes too! Apart from her showstopping appearances on Drag Race, Valentina recently appeared on Access Hollywood for an interview about her career and experiences on drag race. It seems that this queen is making herself right at home in the spotlight where she belongs.

 

@RYBURKE

A staple of modern club kid culture, Ryan Burke is the go to Instagram account to follow if you’d like to see everything from Leigh Bowery inspired costumes to high fashion glamour looks. This look right here really encapsulates what Ryan is all about; graphic avant-garde looks are what she does best!

@BIGANDMILKY

Milk is another queen that came from the new era of club kids. Her conceptual, and more recently, gender fluid and androgynous looks always have either a political or social motive behind them. Recently, Milk showed the world just how she felt about her home country’s current president. Now, this look isn’t the most glamorous, but it serves to show that drag can be more than just female impersonation. It can be a cry for justice and truth in uncertain times.

 

@SASHAVELOUR

It seems like this season of Drag Race is going to have it’s most recognisable, copied, and envied queens of all the seasons. One perfect example of this is Sasha Velour. This New York city drag icon has been the face of Brooklyn for years now. Proving that New York produces some of the best drag acts in the world. And for good reason, just look at her fashion sense. It looks like she has Manhattan oversized Comme Des Garcon realness on lock.

 

@SIGOURNEY.BEAVER

The most beautiful thing about today’s drag scene is that inclusivity has become a main focal point for many of the world’s queer havens. In the past, drag itself was a strictly cis white male profession., now, drag has evolved to include everyone. No matter their age, body shape, skin colour, religion, and gender. Yes, that’s right, even gender too! Never has there been such a rise in women taking interest in drag like there is now. Take the ever stunning Sigourney Beaver. Who’s out of this world glamour and curvaceous body were the perfect mix to create this picture perfect Jessica Rabbit meets Daenerys Targaryen outfit.

 

@PEARLIAISON

Queen Pearl is part of the iconic Drag Race alumni of season 6. Along with winner Violet Chachki, Pearl is regarded as one of the most original and iconic drag queens in recent history. Recently, Pearl drag persona has evolved from vava voom blonde bombshell to fully realised drag artist. In this look, you can see her vast theatrical influences. Pearl has everything covered here, from Venetian carnival sleeves to a gorgeous Midsummers Night Dream headpiece.

 

@PEPPERMINT247

Peppermint landed her rightful place on this list for something extra special and important. Peppermint is actually the first contestant in Drag Race history to enter the competition as a transwoman. Unlike other contestants on the show who began their transitions after their appearances on the show, Peppermint walked into the workroom as a proud (and exceptionally stunning) transwoman of colour. Here we see Peppermint giving a taste of black culture and beauty, 1980’s flare, and New York spunk all in one.

 

@RYANXHEMMINGE

Like I mentioned before, Drag and Drag culture are no longer identified in a singular form. These days, everyone can express their individuality through makeup and costume. Take Instagram user Ryan H. Who’s stunning makeup looks go far beyond the realm of his Instagram makeup artist contemporaries. I definitely think CoverGirl should open up another more spot on their Cover boy roster for this uber-talented lad.

@CREMEFATALE

More and more women are finding empowerment in their sexuality and femininity by doing drag. Queen Creme Fatale is one of them. With some of the most outrageously beautiful and versatile painting skills. Here we can see the extent of Creme’s skills, serving a high fashion, high glamour club kid fantasy.

@URBANDECAYCOSMETICS

Lastly, we have Urban Decay Cosmetics. Who have realised that queens aren’t just an entertainment highlights anymore but they’re also great business women and marketers as well. With the launch of their  Makeup Meltdown and Rehab cosmetics products, Urban Decay invited queens @THEONLYALASKA5000, @JIGGLYCALIENTEOFFICIAL, @SUTANAMRULL, and @KATYA_ZAMO to test drive their products to see if they work to prep and wipe away the toughest of makeup looks.

The Best of NYFW Street Style

Since New York Fashion Week has come and gone, it’s time to reflect on the edgy street style New York had to offer this season. My absolute favourite part about fashion weeks around the world, and especially when it comes to NYFW, is the street style. One thing is for sure, New York knows how to bring it. Outerwear and layering were key factors in nailing your street style game during NYFW where street style is no joke — even the snow, sleet, slush, and the wind can’t stop the people of New York from bringing their A-game to the streets. From camouflage to kitten heels and puffer jackets, New York’s style is still as cool and sophisticated as ever.

Camouflage

It seems like camouflage is equally on the runway — from Yeezy Season 5 and Coach to Alice + Olivia — and on the streets of New York. But it still speaks volumes and is sure to make you stand out.

Trench Coats

New York brought a more chill and relaxed vibe to the classic trench. A hint of layering and cuffed sleeves gives a disheveled yet sophisticated look.

Kitten Heels

Kitten heels were popping up all over the streets. Pairing them with denim is the perfect way to achieve a balanced chill and feminine look.

Oversized Puffer

The go-to way to stay warm during NYFW was definitely the puffer jacket. It was hard to keep track of just how many there were. Regardless what you think about puffers, oversized puffers are statements that keep you warm.

Shades of Yellow

There were more yellow on the streets of New York than the usual flow of taxi cabs flowing through. From bright jackets and purses to more subtle yellow accessories like yellow-tinted sunglasses, the yellow accent was a favourite during this season.

Shearling-Lined

The shearling lined jacket was seen left, right, and center on those who were braving the cold during NYFW. It’s the epitome of warm, badass outerwear. If you’re not into the idea of a full fur coat, this is a happy medium. A classic and fashionable look but with a little more edge.

Plaid

Crowds turned to plaid in all different shapes, styles, and colours. Pairing it with anything and everything, New York brought out the classic in its quintessentially unique ways.

Faux Fur

Nothing says winter is here like fur and the faux-fur game was definitely strong this season. It dominated the street style runway in a variety of styles,  colors, and cuts.

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New York Fashion Week Men’s Recap: Fall/Winter 2017

If you didn’t find time to make it to New York Fashion Week this year, have no fear. We have compiled a list of a few noteworthy designers and their contributions to this year’s runway. If you are looking for style inspiration, you have come to the right place. Let us guide you by displaying some of our favourite menswear looks that are fresh off the runway.

Raf Simons

Photo Credit: Gerardo Somoza / Indigital.tv

We couldn’t mention our favourite Fall/Winter 2017 collections without first discussing Raf Simons. Perhaps the most anticipated show of the season, Raf Simon’s debut at New York Fashion Week was incredible. Championing the title of Chief Creative Officer at Calvin Klein in August, Raf has certainly been busy. The collection devotes itself to New York City, with bold titles of “NY” carefully placed on knit sweaters. A highlight from the collection is noted in the accessorizing of the models. Oversize beaded necklaces hung off each model and displayed messages such as “I LOVE YOU” and “WALK WITH ME.” This collection presented a youthful exuberance inspired by those native to New York City, while making it accessible to all.

John Elliot

John Elliot’s Fall/Winter 2017 menswear collection presented itself as a sportswear brand that doubles as a streetwear brand. This season, the runway was recreated to look like a basketball court and engaged the cultural exchange taking place within the world of sports. John Elliot incorporated satin and silk materials onto metallic bomber jackets and reinvented the classic leather jacket by adding an array of colours. While not only including incredible texture into this line, John Elliot integrated hues of blue, green, and silver together, creating a colour palette that won’t go unnoticed.

 

Ovadia & Sons

Photo Credit: Gerardo Somoza / Indigital.tv

Ovadia & Sons brought military inspired wear to this year’s runway with camo prints and army greens. The collection, created by twin brothers Shimon and Ariel Ovadia, features a personal history inspired by their father — a professional soccer player who was conscripted into the army. The collection recounts his time spent in the Israeli army and creates a visual canvas of his past as a soccer player. Much of the line fits into the athlesiure wear trend that is very popular in today’s menswear. As both designers were born in Jerusalem, they took inspiration from their roots while presenting their personal history onto their clothing, by adding Hebrew lettering to soccer jerseys. Ovadia & Sons let us into their world by sharing their intimate details, and allowing individuals everywhere to partake in their history.  

Orley

Orley has masterfully integrated neutral tones onto knit workwear. The collection trademarks a preppy aesthetic, while at the same time drawing inspiration from singer-songwriter Nick Drake. The collection creates a nostalgic kinship for the seventies, and features corduroy as one of its main textures. Orley offers a collection that is polished and perfectly tailored to the individual. Since the brand’s debut in 2012, Orley has achieved a great deal of success. This season, Orley continues to make a name for itself while offering a clean collection that is carefully crafted. The line exudes vintage tones through its’ presentation of wool sweaters and cashmere suits.

Uri Minkoff

Uri Minkoff crafted a collection inspired for the metropolitan man and his daily commute. The line includes tailored clothing that is carefully designed for men on-the-g0. For example, Uri Minkoff included buttons on the ankles of pants to ensure that chain grease from bicycles doesn’t soil the garment. The runway was recreated after a New York City crosswalk and appeals to bike messengers and businessmen everywhere. Uri Minkoff  includes weatherproof jackets with fashion forward designs. Accessories were also a stand-out of this collection, through cross-body bags, to smaller-type luggage. The collection is timeless as it is effortlessly trendy, while practical.

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Bands Spotted: February Edition

Give me a decent venue, a cheap beer and a captivating band, and I’m in for the night.  Add some killer fashion styles to the act and I am in for LIFE. It is so common nowadays to find a band that doesn’t care about their style — plaid shirts, Vans and beards can only go so far! Here are some new bands that get it. They have an established sound and look. The combination is a recipe for not only success but a distinguished memorability that proceeds off the stage and works its’ way into our personal playlists and wardrobes.

Weaves

A seriously fun band to look out for, the next time you’re wanting to go out and tear up the dance floor. Yes, I realize that there typically is not a  dance floor at live shows, but with the art-rock band Weaves, there is! If we’re talking about style here, then I think it’s time to disclose that I have just added a terry cloth robe to my shopping cart, in hopes to look half as good as singer, Jasmyn Burke. The men in the ensemble also have great patterned button-ups and layering skills. A MUST listen.

The Coathangers

Contrary to popular belief, punk is NOT dead (sorry, Crass) and it is actually living and flourishing within the New York band, The Coathangers. These women are tearing up the punk community with their catchy sounds. Also, their vintage style mixed with modern elements (just look at that jacket) create a very unique and personal style.

Rynheart

Toronto band, Rynheart is everything you have been missing in rock! Insanely good instrumental work and old school-rock vibes with a modern flare. There is something for everyone to enjoy when it comes to this band. If we’re talking about style, Rynheart is no stranger to this word. Blazers, sick layering, long hair and FUR — does not get better.

Rykka

This video just came out a week ago and I am obsessed. Rykka’s vocals have been haunting my week in the best way: they are THAT amazing. What is also amazing is her style. Check out that fur bustier, check out that cardigan — that I will definitely be stealing from my grandma’s closet to recreate this — that perfect winged liner, that hair! Rykka is the perfect example of the importance of a great sound and unique style. Take notes!

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Meeting Melvin Sokolsky – Notes from a Student

Martin Harrison in his introduction to Seeing Fashion, an Arena Editions’s collected works of Melvin Sokolsky’s photographs from the 60’s, tells the story of the photographer’s encounter with Edgar de Evie’s Jell-O ad early in his career: Mr. Sokolsky, from the Lower East Side, young, and hungry, was greatly impressed at the $4000 advertising photographer received for the photo.

Speaking at length — befitting the rhythm of our long conversation, which flowed from photography to politics, writing, and our contemporary cultural issues — on the subject of honesty, Mr. Sokolsky pointed out that Harrison’s version, though with factual information, is not true: “He is saying, in other words, that Melvin was interested in the money and not the idea.” The truth: “That was not what it was about. I told [Harrison] about Edgar getting $4000 for Jell-O and that [Edgar] was insulted when I told him that I would’ve liked the picture better if the pouring Jell-O looked blurred.”

Mr. Sokolsky does not like inaccuracies. Naturally, he’s not so keen on superlatives either: “They’re embarrassing.” Which is another way of saying that to speak with Mr. Sokolsky and his works without a thorough knowledge, let alone a rudimentary understanding of photography, was a dangerous feat. No inaccuracies, either factual or essential. No gratuitous praises. As such, I talked little and listened. Dressed entirely in black, he led me around the gallery and talked about the various ways in which his works were conceived, produced, and received, and what they may or may not mean in the era of selfies and Instagram (the platform on which Mr. Sokolsky posted a picture from the Bubble Series and received meagre 50 likes).

Sokolsky was born in New York in 1933 and at the age of twenty-one joined Harper’s Bazaar’s distinguished staff, which included, among others, Nancy White, Diana Vreeland, and Richard Avedon. In 1962, Sokolsky photographed the entire editorial content of McCall’s. Within the decade, he began his career as a commercial director/cameraman, for which he has won twenty-five Clio Awards. He has been actively involved with the physical and technological natures of his craft, applying self-developed techniques to his works well beyond the spectrum of contemporary usage or even of Photoshop. With over half a century’s work, to say he is prolific is an understatement. The exclusive retrospective at Izzy Gallery (1255 Bay.) is a chance to view his iconic works, especially those from his time at Bazaar, including the famed Bubble and Fly series.

The glamour and drama attached to working in Harper’s Bazaar, however, was not the subject at the edges of our revolving conversation. Underlying it was a sense of urgency regarding the need to reclaim and reaffirm the values and definitions of creative endeavors. “Somebody told me — I forget who — something very early in the game that I still remember. ‘It is most important that you write everything accurately and vet it and back it up. Sadly, 90% of people who pick up the book will not read a word of it. Only the publisher, the people involved, care that much.’ But I’m doing it because, on this planet, there’s a history. Doing an honorable job is important because otherwise history is going to get distorted.” There are moral implications for the artist in doing things right. He was, also, pointedly telling me to ‘do an honorable job’ regarding this article. And with that in mind, let us revisit.

The Bubble Series, seen anew, carries a depth beyond the sensuality, joy, and vibrancy of the immediate image. Outside the pages of Harper’s Bazaar and the appraising gaze of its audience — who could spend at the time, as Mr. Sokolsky pointed out, enough money to buy a car on a Chanel dress —, the photographs can be viewed in an entirely different context — not as a icon but as a living work of art. The photographs on view, like the best of portraits, evoke narratives; the atmosphere of Parisian streets; the passersby who take respite from daily life and who, with their presence, reflect a viewer’s curiosity and awe.

Simone D’Aillencourt in a Nina Ricci by Melvin Sokolsky from Harper’s Bazaar, 1960

An even earlier work showing Simone D’Aillencourt in a Nina Ricci dress standing in a hovel atop a bed of old newspapers is perhaps even more to the point. The incongruity between the subject and her surroundings evokes much more than musings on Ms. D’Aillencourt’s beauty or the dress:

‘When you write something — would you admit this to me? — you have to have some kind of point of view that makes it special. […] I took that picture [of Simone] for Harper’s Bazaar, an upper class fashion magazine for wealthy women. Melvin Sokolsky came from New York’s Lower East Side and had no idea about wealthy women or fashion. He just liked taking pictures that were interesting. So I found this loft, a hovel, with walls falling apart and old newspapers. [The dress] was one of the most important New York collection dresses. When I put them together and photographed them, it was immediately rejected. It was accepted by the art director and the head of fashion but the editor-in-chief said, ‘Are you people out of your mind? The readers of Bazaar would not be able to identify with that place.’ But then Mrs. [Diana] Vreeland said, ‘That’s precisely the point. Juxtaposition — it’s a painting.’ […] So [the editor-in-chief] acquiesced — because of the deadline, not because she wanted to; there’s always a reason. Then letters came in asking, Who is this Sokolsky guy? I was twenty-one years old in 1960 and suddenly I got myself a reputation for ideas.’

The conceive a photograph as a template for an idea rather than a product with a function is the point of view. That with retrospect one can easily see how the colorful dress stands out in juxtaposition to the surroundings and thereby attracts even more attention to itself is only a testimony to the photographer’s vision. The magic of the image lies in creating a narrative through the incongruity of the subject and its surroundings. To see pictures from Mr. Sokolsky’s wide-ranging career is to see numerous changes in his style, experiments with contemporary photographic technologies and emulsions, and conceptual focus. His signature is less of a particular style or a palette but is rather his approach to photography itself.

look_down by Melvin Sokolsky from Harper’s Bazaar

This can be easily seen by opening a random page in Mr. Sokolsky’s self-published Archive. From fashion photography that reflects his fascination with surrealist art to reportage and portraits, they showcase his indelible style and continual innovation.

A conversation with Mr. Sokolsky is a variegated lesson; on photography; on the nature of working in the fashion industry; on creativity and craftsmanship. At one point in our meeting, he said, “What I’ve discovered is that most people are aesthetically blind.” But it was not a condemnation as much as a pedagogic reprimand. Reprimand so that we should see better. And in seeing better, do better even if it’s for that hypothetical 10% who do pick up the book and read or see a photograph and truly see.

Melvin Sokolsky’s Retrospective runs through February 11th at Izzy Gallery. ‘Archive’ is available for purchase at sokolsky.com. 

Izzy Gallery (1255 Bay Street) represents works of acclaimed photographers — Douglas Kirkland, DeanaNastic, and Lillian Bassman, among others. Each piece in the gallery is hand selected from the artists’ archives, which makes an opportunity to visit in and of itself a unique experience. 

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