The global lockdown has spawned some seriously wild looks, with people at home getting crafty using things like pillows and other household items lying around. Others like Shea Couleé, however, are showing the girlies how it's really done thanks to some impressive construction techniques and elevated design chops. (They studied costume design for years.)
The RuPaul's Drag Race star shared a recent photo of themself clad in a full head-to-toe printed look complete with a colorful head wrap and matching face mask. They designed the look at home with the help of Couleé's boyfriend and graphic artist Dan Polyak, who created the custom print.
"I'm definitely one of those people that if I'm not on the go traveling and I'm [at] home... I like to make things with my hands like cooking or sewing or working on hair," Couleé tells PAPER, describing themself as a "textile person." So after reflecting on how social distancing measures have affected things like fashion, they came up with the idea for this fully concealed look, which was inspired by the rising British designer Richard Quinn.
"They have definitely become one of my favorites to look out for every season," they explain. (They also cite Christopher John Rogers, Moschino and Iris van Herpen as constant fashion inspirations.) "I kind of got bored and made a cast of my head, patterned it out, and made a little quarantine couture outfit to keep my creativity flowing."
Quinn, who gained prominence after receiving an award from Queen Elizabeth a few years ago, is known for their maximalist floral prints and feminine shapes with a subversive edge. Couleé's look captures the designer's signature eccentricity that's become something of a draw for celebrities going incognito. (Remember Cardi B's head-to-toe disguise at Paris Fashion Week?)
Couleé has plenty more quarantine fashion looks in the pipeline while they isolate at home in Chicago. But they're also excited to continue performing once the lockdown eventually lifts. "There's been this shift to respond to COVID-19 where drag has gone into this digital frontier, so I've been in this process of figuring this out and creating spaces in my house so it doesn't look like I'm just in my living room."
They continue, "I feel like it will provide a new form of craftiness and how to create performance spaces anywhere. I feel like now it will be a little bit different for drag queens where we won't just walk on the stage and press play on the track. I feel like people are going to be so much more creative now after this and I'm really excited to bring that creativity to the stage."
Photography: Dan Polayk