"Being tattooed and muscled in a dress is my drag."
Dame to Brooklyn and New York City nightlife, and soon to be even more known beyond her 24,000 Instagram followers, Rify Royalty has been bringing muscles, tattoos and, at one point a ubiquitous mustache, to club-nights and drag-cabarets for the last six years. “The mustache was a Rify staple,” she told me over email, “but once people start expecting me to deliver a certain thing, I like to catch them off guard. For years people only knew me as the queen who wore a jock strap and heels, but now I’m in floor length gowns.”
Rify’s got some new images, out exclusively with GAYLETTER. She made them in collaboration with photographer Fred Attenborough and creative director Elvis Maynard, explore her more sophisticated, high-profile side. After all, Royalty is her name. Her performances are typically bold, and her looks operate within a sort of deconstruction-couture. It’s D.I.Y. drag fashion for the crowd with a sense of humor and who isn’t afraid of a loose hem. I’ve always seen her as rather rock and roll. “Being tattooed and muscled in a dress is my drag,” Rify said. “There’s no illusion here. I think queens should make choices that feel authentic to them. For me, not padding or trying to make my body appear more ‘femme’ is authentic to me.”
Using David LaChapelle’s famed image of pop culture femme-fatales — Donatella Versace, Lil Kim, Missy Elliot and Rose McGowan (who tells the hilarious story of Donatella fussing over her presence in the shot) — Rify, Attenborough and Maynard extracted themes of strength, timeless glamour and power to raise Rify into new heights. …
"Dior is a key name within the past, present, and future of couture.”
The House of Dior, founded in 1946 by the eponymous Christian Dior, should need no introduction, but in case you are unfamiliar, The House of Dior: Seventy Years of Haute Couture is a lavish introduction to the breathtaking evolution of one of fashion’s most honored houses. Dior is a titan in the fashion industry that has continuously boasted successful lines of ready-to-wear fashion, fragrances, leather goods, accessories, timepieces, jewelry, and, of course, haute couture. Together with the National Gallery of Victoria, Dior has released this brand-new, gorgeously constructed book to celebrate their 70th anniversary.
In the foreword, the director of the National Gallery of Victoria, Tony Ellwood, writes: “This fully illustrated publication…explores the rich history of the fashion house, the design codes synonymous with the House of Dior, insights into the Dior atelier workrooms, and the role that accessories and perfume have played in expressing the complete Dior look.”
Written by Katie Somerville, Lydia Kamitsis, and Danielle Whitfield, The House of Dior breaks down each era of the house since its inception in 1947, separated into sections and themes based on the tenures of the many legendary creative directors of the house: Christian Dior (1946-1957), Yves Saint-Laurent (1957–1960), Marc Bohan (1960–1989), Gianfranco Ferré (1989–1997), John Galliano (1997–2011), Bill Gaytten (2011–2012), Raf Simons (2012–2015), and the first female creative director of Dior, Maria Grazia Chiuri (2016–present).
Christian Dior mannequins in the salon of House of Dior’s headquarters. 30 Avenue Montaigne, Paris 1957. …
"The Slaysian Dynasty is here!"
Over the past few years, drag has gone from niche performance art to cultural phenomenon. With offshoots from the now empiric RuPaul’s Drag Race coming to millennial-focused networks like Viceland (The Trixie & Katya Show), and former show-contestants like Valentina appearing on the upcoming season of America’s Next Top Model, drag queens are now receiving major bookings, and, much to our delight, their careers are now watched by millions of people.
There are plenty of drag queens who come from an Asian heritage, however the particular subset of queens and nightlife personas can sometimes feel slightly underrepresented in the world-wide drag theatre. With exceptions like Gia Gunn (RPDR Season 6) whose “feelin’ like pussy, feelin’ like cunt” attitude has resonated with many, to Kim Chi (RPDR Season 8) whose Korean inspired name seems like an afterthought when compared to her celebrated make-up skills and Season 8 finale appearance. Asian queens receive a much smaller portion of the credit in regards to the success of the now massive drag industry.
As the LGBTQ+ community attempts total inclusion, Asian performers are making strides to keep their part of the community close-knit, especially in the clock-central drag circuit. The photographer Oliver Mint took it upon himself to platform some of the fiercest faces within his midst. Using some of the finest faces out of the Brooklyn drag community, Sookie Sterling, Dynasty, Mahal Kita, West Dakota and Panthera Lush posed for some photos inspired by the fashion-great, Richard Avedon. …