Kim Chi, Madame Butterly, Vanity Fair, video, 100 years of drag fashion, RuPaul's Drag Race, Asian, drag queen, cross dresser
Kim Chi, Madame Butterly, Vanity Fair, video, 100 years of drag fashion, RuPaul's Drag Race, Asian, drag queen, cross dresser

VIDEO: 100 Years of 9 Historic Drag Performers in Just 4 Minutes

With the conclusion of RuPaul’s Drag Race All-Stars 2 happening Thursday, four former Drag Race competitors (Kim Chi, Raja, Shangela, and Detox) helped Vanity Fair create a video showcasing 103 years of drag fashion re-created through nine historic drag performers.

You already know some of the more recent performers — namely Divine, RuPaul, Raven and David Bowie (who is more genderfuck that drag in our opinion, but perhaps that’s just splitting hairs), but you probably haven’t heard of the old-timey performers like pansy performer Jean Malin (“one of the first openly gay performers in Prohibition-era Speakeasy culture”), female impersonator Francis Renault (who was arrested in Dallas for cross-dressing), drag performer Lavern Cummings (a blues singer made famous at Finnochio’s Club in San Francisco), and drag queen Danny La Rue (a female-celebrity impersonator who was reportedly “Britain’s highest-paid performer” during the ‘60s).

It’s also worth pointing out that the video’s 1920s performer, Madame Butterly (from the opera by straight composer Giacomo Puccini), wasn’t actually a man, a drag queen, or a female illusionist; the opera presents her as a cisgender woman who gets impregnated by the deadbeat U.S. Naval Lieutenant Pinkerton — what a jerk.

Gay playwright David Hwang eventually did a modern stage play called M. Butterfly in which the Asian love interest is a man masquerading as a woman, but that play didn’t come out until 1988.