Zaldy, the three-time Emmy-winning designer behind RuPaul‘s amazing runway looks, has been a longtime collaborator, working with Ru for nearly three decades. He talked to Vogue all about his journey designing Ru’s looks.
“We met through New York nightlife,” says Zaldy. “I was also a drag queen.” One of the first projects he worked on with Ru was dressing him for the cover of his album, Supermodel of the World, in 1993.
“27 years later, their partnership is going strong: Zaldy has created every single look Ru’s worn on Drag Race. At this year’s Emmys, which will be presented virtually, Zaldy’s work in season 12 is nominated once again for an Emmy in the ‘Outstanding Costumes For a Variety, Nonfiction or Reality Program’ category. He says the latest season exemplifies the changes and risks the duo constantly try to pull off on the show,” writer Christian Allaire said.
“Within 12 years, you can’t not grow,” says Zaldy. “Within the world of drag, everything has been elevated to such a level that we’re always challenging ourselves within my studio to make something more and more amazing, and something that we may not have seen on Ru in the past. At the same time, [we’re] respecting the iconic image of RuPaul that we’ve created.” The signature Ru look, Zaldy says, is “long and tall. The classic Ru look is a column gown, with an itty-bitty waist that accentuates the hips.”
Aside from Drag Race, Zaldy also outfits RuPaul for all of his other projects and offshoots, including his recent Netflix show, AJ and the Queen. “Last year, we filmed five shows,” says Zaldy, adding that the Netflix show was particularly new territory. “It was a really welcomed challenge. It was a completely different character and color story. Each episode also had a drag performance, and we haven’t seen Ru perform in this way in quite some time, so it was a whole new thing.”
He continues, “We all come together and work off each other’s inspiration for the final package. Then Ru, as in all things, has the final say. Because as everyone knows, Mama Ru knows best.”
Read the entire article on Vogue here.