The 20 Best Looks from Drag Race, Seasons 1-9

Season 10 of RuPaul's Drag Race premiered this past Thursday, and the tea is already piping hot. As much as we’re all looking forward to this new drama, with the recent season finale of the spin-off show All Stars (where former beloved contestants compete again for a second chance at the crown) it seems like the perfect time to rehash the best looks of almost a decade of Drag Race. Throughout the nine seasons of the main show, and the three seasons of All Stars, hundreds of looks have been served. There have been hits, there have been misses, and there have been triumphs, but here, using my expert opinion, (and consulting a few other megafans such as myself,) I’ve compiled a list of the 20 best looks to ever walk down either the main stage or the reunion stage of Drag Race. I’m grading based on creativity, presentation and showmanship, and to some degree my own personal taste, so to anyone with a discrepancy, your mileage may vary. In descending order:

20. Kim Chi’s Cartoon Face

Runway Theme: Black and White Movie

The challenge here was to create a look that made it seem as if the queen had stepped right out of a black-and-white movie. Eventual Season 8 finalist Kim Chi, a South Korean queen famous for her makeup skills and highly conceptual looks, created a graphic face that told a story all its own.

19. Acid Betty’s Acid Trip

Runway Theme: Neon

Acid Betty, known for being highly inspired by the Club Kid movement of the early 90s in NYC, fashioned this in-your-face look at just the right moment. All the different pieces together would overpower any other outfit, but all placed together they look so right.

18. April Carrión’s April Showers

Simple and elegant, you know exactly what Ms. April is presenting to you with this outfit: exactly what we all wish we looked like when we’re trudging through campus on a rainy day.

17. Roxxxy Andrew’s Liquorice Fantasy

Runway Theme: Candy Couture

After spending hours hand-gluing pieces of licorice to a corset, Season 5 finalist Roxxxy served what is perhaps one of the most iconic looks ever shown in her original season. The way the strips of candy move gets me every time.

16. Raven’s Harajuku look

Runway Theme: Bad Girls Chic

Raven has one of the most famous makeup looks of any drag queen. Her method of contouring her nose with what could almost be an exclamation point to make it look smaller has created a drag trend all on its own. Here, we see her breaking free of her go-to mug in favor of a Japanese-inspired face.

15. Katya’s Rubber on the Runway

Runway Theme: Latex Extravaganza

The colors. The fit on her body. Her waddling down the runway. And the nose clasp for a touch of humor. It’s so right. Katya was robbed on All Stars 2, and this proves it for me.

14. Trinity K. Bonet’s Phoenix

Runway Theme: Animal Kingdom

Another instance where, while it seems the individual pieces would be too much, when they all come together they become oh so perfect. This phoenix didn’t rise from the ashes though; Trinity went home this episode.

13. Courtney Act’s Serving Fish Fantasy

Runway Theme: Black and White

This Klaus Nomi-inspired look lampshaded a fact we all know: Courtney Act is the fishiest (most woman-like) queen to ever walk the main stage of RPDR. My favorite element is the hair; I can’t tell what it’s made of, but rest assured Ms. Courtney was washing black glitter off her scalp for hours.

12. Trinity Taylor’s Club Kid

Runway Theme: Club Kid Realness

Trinity Taylor is a highly-polished pageant queen who broke her typical mold for this look. My favorite part is the walk. The way she struts down the runway looking like a spazzed-out bacterium gives me all the life. In her own words, “It’s not easy to look like a venereal disease.”

11. Peppermint’s Club Kid

Runway Theme: Club Kid Realness

Peppermint was the one contestant that kept coming back. She was usually pretty weak on the runway portion of the challenges, but here she was where she really shone. The look is put-together, and she took her candy namesake and let it vomit all over her.

10. Phi Phi O’Hara’s CP3-Ho

Runway Theme: Future of Drag

In a runway full of silver and gold, Phi Phi took this challenge and went blue. All over. And then she grabbed a giant ray gun and showed the world her new cosplay persona.

9. Kim Chi’s Mother look

Runway Theme: That’s My Mama

Here was where Kim Chi got to demonstrate a “dynamic Empire silhouette” and show off Korean culture to a mostly Western audience. Clearly, here we see her mother as a proud matriarch.

8. Detox’s Season 5 Reunion Look

Though the outfit is a simple LBD, the body makeup and gray wig make it seem as if Detox stepped straight out of a 1920s silent film. A fun fact: this look inspired Kim Chi’s cartoon face, #20 on this list.

7. Shea Coulee’s Construction Worker

Runway Theme: Village People

Working with a challenge inspired by the iconic 70s band, Shea was given the task of emulating the construction worker look. What resulted is this hand-sewn patchwork cape. and a perfect balance of feminine and macho.

6. Jinkx Monsoon’s Sugar Skullface

Runway Theme: Latina Eleganza

Jinkx was the dark horse of the competition, and she proved it with this look. She struggled on the runways during her season, especially with her makeup, but to her credit, she was the first comedy queen to ever win her season.

5. Trixie Mattel’s AS3 Finale look

Runway Theme: Best Drag

The most recent inductee into the winner’s circle finished her season strong. She looks like an elegant poodle had a child with a 1982 Holiday Edition Barbie, and I’m in love with it.

4. Sharon Needle’s Apocalyptic Zombie

Runway Theme: Post-Apocalyptic

The very first challenge of Season 4 was to create a post-apocalyptic look from garbage. Sharon’s brand of spooky drag fit like a glove, and when she started to spit blood, it was something never before seen on Drag Race.

3. Ivy Winters’ Butterfly

Runway Theme: Best Drag

Trained in the circus, Ivy is the first and only queen to ever walk the runway on stilts. She changed the game and set a bar yet to be crossed again.

2. Raja’s Rococo Fantasy

Runway Theme: Best Drag

Raja is the quintessential runway queen. She was on ANTM as a makeup artist, and she’s known for having one of the best walks of any queen. With this conceptual Marie Antoinette-inspired look, she showed the judges exactly what it meant to be high fashion couture.

1. Violet Chachki’s S8 Finale Demon Queen

Nothing has ever gagged any true RPDR fan like this look has. When S7 winner Violet showed up to turn the crown over to the winner of S8, she came decked out in an ornate, emerald green, hooded gown, complete with her signature cinched waist and a silicone crown growing out of her skull. No one was going to take the crown until they cut it off her head first.

(All images courtesy Viacom, VH1, and World of Wonder Productions)