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Her name is not Icesis Ready-to-Wear, it’s Icesis Couture!
Icesis Couture is currently in a love/hate relationship with her sewing machine. “We’re fighting,” she says on the phone. “I don’t want to see it; I don’t want to talk to it; I don’t want to use it!” Given what she’s just gone through, it’s easy to see why.
Icesis Couture has been serving looks since the first day she sissy’d that walk into the Werk Room on Canada’s Drag Race season two. From her yellow entrance ensemble to her grand finale fantasy, the Ottawa-based queen treated the Main Stage as her personal runway, and the judges and viewers fell in love with her for it. As her self-proclaimed “nerdy” and “weird” fashion sense merged with her charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent, she became an unstoppable force and went on to win the title of Canada’s Next Drag Superstar.
“I didn’t go onto Drag Race expecting to be known as the ‘fashion girl’ of the show,” she shares. “I honestly was just so happy to be a part of it! But I mean, I’ve been called much worse [laughs], and the title means a lot because I worked so hard to create my looks.”
And work hard she did. Due to a tight production timeline, the queens were only given three weeks’ notice before the first day of filming. As each episode has its own theme and runway mandate, a very specific wardrobe is required in a very short amount of time. While most contestants either can’t sew or prefer to outsource their wardrobes, Icesis is not one of them and instead constructed 30 looks in 21 days — hence her current feud with her sewing machine.
“For three weeks, I set up my machine on my dining room table, and for three weeks, I did 16 hours a day of sewing,” says Icesis. “At the time, we were also in a full-blown lockdown in Ottawa, so none of the fabric stores were open. We don’t have very many resources here as it is, so I had to borrow scraps of fabric from my friends.”
In honour of the recently announced Canada’s Drag Race Season Two tour starting June 29th in Montreal to July 16th in Victoria, below, Icesis Couture breaks down the stories and inspiration behind some of her best-dressed moments from the series.
“Even though it was the first outfit I wore, it was the last outfit I made! I had used up all my materials, so I actually had to borrow this fabric. I wanted to create a look that represented my Hispanic culture and the ladies in El Salvador that would go around with baskets on their heads and sell food from door to door.”
Runway theme: Made in Canada
“The most extreme padding and corset I wore on the show was for the nurse look. I was really sucked in! I usually always wear padding, but I didn’t wear as much as I normally would on the show because we were in drag from 5:30 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. A few Drag Race girls warned me about the long hours before coming on this season, so I purposefully created more comfortable looks.”
Runway theme: Ugly as Sin
“I spent a lot of my younger years living with my grandmother. She was always crocheting and knitting, so the idea for the gown was always in my head. After she passed, I asked my mom if I could have the scraps from her various projects, and I sewed them all together to create this look. But the thing that’s special about this look is that my other grandma, my stepdad’s mother, was sick with cancer before I left for Canada’s Drag Race, and she passed away while I was on the show. She was always so supportive of me, which made me want to create this look in both of their honour. And the fact that I won that challenge means a lot, you know?”
Runway theme: Cool Mom and Prom Queen
“[Finalist] Kendall Gender literally picked the perfect person for everybody for that makeover challenge! I felt such an immediate connection to Makayla because I’ve grown up around trans women, and hearing her story, there were so, so many similarities. So when we got to designing her garment, I had a secret blue fabric that would’ve matched my outfit perfectly, and then I had this red fabric. I brought them both to her, and I said, ‘This blue fabric will probably make me win, but which one do you want to wear?’ And she looked me dead in the eyes and said, ‘I would really like to have this red outfit.’ All she wanted was to wear this specific red dress to her prom, and she couldn’t afford it. She just wanted to feel like a beautiful woman and shine. At that moment, because I had such a connection with her, I knew I was going to create anything that she wanted, and if it put me in the bottom, then that’s fine because I just wanted her to be happy.”
Runway theme: Coronation Eleganza
“When I was creating my outfit package for Drag Race, I had it in my mind that I needed to ‘play the game’ and fall into a certain category of drag — a more sellable, more feminine, more colourful drag. So when I was designing my looks, I had sketched out this horror, macabre ensemble because that’s the type of drag that I love to do. Initially, I wasn’t going to make it, but after looking at all my sketches together, I realized that I didn’t have anything that was honestly my aesthetic. So I told myself, ‘if you get to the end, you need to wear this look because you need to represent yourself. And I’m so happy that I did because it just went over so well, and I’m so proud.”