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Sasha Velour Gives New York Fashion Week the ‘Gift of Showz’

Category: Fashion & Style,Lifestyle

Opening Ceremony may be known for its unconventional fashion presentations, but the brand’s latest event was perhaps its most radical yet: a drag show curated by “RuPaul’s Drag Race” star Sasha Velour that culminated in a surprise performance by Christina Aguilera. “I hope you’re not expecting a straightforward presentation of clothes,” said Velour after a dramatic lip-sync performance of Dionne Warwick’s “A House Is Not a Home.” “Uniformity is not very interesting or sustainable,” she added, “it’s boring.”

Indeed, the “fashion extravaganza,” as Velour called it, was a celebration of personality, camp and performance. Fans of the hit reality television series immediately recognized the colorful cast of drag queens that took the stage last night — Shea Couleé, Jiggly Caliente and Miss Fame, to name a few — and more than 40 emerging queer artists, performers and models also made appearances. “It takes a family to put on a show,” Velour said. Opening Ceremony, she continued, “has told us that we belong here. They told us that we can belong in these clothes.”

For the brand’s creative directors, Humberto Leon and Carol Lim, the collaboration, called “A Gift of Showz,” was an opportunity to celebrate New York’s queer culture in one of its iconic spaces: the venue Le Poisson Rouge, which stages weekly drag shows in the West Village. There was also a charity raffle in support of the Transgender Law Center, which provides legal services for trans and gender nonconforming people. “There’s a lot of noise during fashion week and hundreds of shows that journalists see,” said Leon, who pointed out that the casting was 100 percent L.G.B.T. “If this can make them pause and take a moment to reflect, that is what is exciting for us.”

Throughout the show, performers wore pieces from Opening Ceremony’s spring 2019 ready-to-wear collection, but the format was still far from the usual catwalk presentation. Instead, Velour created dramatic tableaus of queer artists, performers and models who strutted their stuff in diamanté fishnets, ditzy florals and ’80s-inspired sportswear — and many of them were involved in designing and creating their outfits themselves. The audience, which included Nicki Minaj, Troye Sivan and Whoopi Goldberg, interspersed its cheering and applause with emphatic cries of “Yas!”

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