Influences for our Luna and Kiki jewellery come from everywhere. Since we started creating bright, fun pieces we’ve been inspired by everything from Japanese pop culture to worldwide folklore and fairy tales. Lately though there’s been one bright, fashion forward, ground breaking and completely addictive Netflix show that has been an endless source of inspiration to us (and no, it’s definitely not Tiger King). It’s a reality TV show that we’ve been watching religiously for a good couple of years now and simply can’t get enough. Have you guessed it yet? I’ll give you a clue. Reader: Shantay, you stay!
Start your engines…
That’s right, Ru Paul’s Drag Race is a fruitful garden of visual delights, each contestant bringing with them a style and a lasting legacy that is incredible to follow. Spin off shows, memes, subreddits; the series has a whole culture behind it that is vibrant, diverse, somewhat controversial and endlessly entertaining – which is probably why it’s so addictive.
Why we love it
Drag Race has brought the art of drag to the mainstream (though here in the UK we’ve loved teatime telly favourites like Lily Savage and Mrs Brown for decades and no Royal Variety Show performance would be complete without Dame Edna!) I think it’s the fusion of art, comedy, beauty and a celebration of ‘otherness’, difference and diversity that is most compelling and keeps viewers loyal season after season.
Personally, one of my favourite parts of the show is how often it makes me think ‘I wonder how I could recreate that look’, or ‘that would make a sick pair of earrings’. I love the idea of creating jewels and pieces which look high fashion, but are actually super affordable thanks to the materials used!
How it’s inspired us
Shapes, colours, patterns, people; Ru Paul’s Drag Race is a design-forward show that uses a wealth of materials to create unique looks. This ingenuity is something that many handmade jewellery makers also use, especially the idea of looking around and thinking ‘how can I take that concept and turn it into something beautiful, something someone would want to or could afford to wear?’
Jinkx Monsoon (right above) was my initial inspiration for these earrings (centre above), which I made using one of the first moulds we ever got our mits on! Violet Chachki (left above) also sports a similar design, the teardrop shape being a classic for high glamour costume jewellery.
I loved creating these earrings inspired by one of my favourite runway looks from Latrice Royale (right above). I hand painted the eyes using a liquid plastic so it would be extra shiny to match the material of Latrice’s stunning gown. This was really just a tester to see if it would come out how I wanted it, so our version is a little wobbly and could definitely be improved upon!
These teardrop earrings (left and right above) are one of our newest designs, and I’m currently working on creating gradients using different inks, paints, glitters and other materials for a finish similar to Alaska 5000’s (centre above) earrings here.
Drag Culture IRL
I think most artists and designers who love shows like Ru Paul’s Drag Race can’t help but bring a little part of it to their work, but what’s so wonderful about the show is that it doesn’t just end when the show finishes.
Every city will have hugely talented drag artists who work constantly on their craft, and who put on shows for everyone to enjoy. Nottingham is no exception, and we’ve personally been lucky enough to work with a few. In the Autumn we created some bespoke designs for Nottingham legend Kitty Tray (far left below), and earlier this year we organised a photoshoot with talented artists Luna Moon (centre right below) and Wyntir Rose (far right below) to show off some spring time looks. We hope we get the opportunity to do more in future!
I really can’t think of a show that is more vibrant, more dramatic, and more heart rending than Ru Paul’s Drag Race. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it – there’s a whole world of glamour, hilarity and inspiration to soak up and once you’re in the race, you won’t want it to end!
Now, sashay away.