Sharon Needles's 'Dressed to Kill' Video Shows Off Glamorous NYFW Line
Fashionistas take note: RuPaul's Drag Race Season 4 winner and notorious Halloween queen Sharon Needles has a clothing line. Smack in the middle of NYFW, "Geoffrey Mac for Sharon Needles" launched at The Out NYC, with a selection of leggings, shirt-dresses, and even swimsuits — each topped with a healthy slather of black lipstick, of course. (Veteran designer Mac has also dressed the likes of Debbie Harry, Ke$ha, and, yes, Lady Gaga.) But wait, there's more: The party also included the premiere of Needles's music video for her song "Dressed to Kill" — which, fittingly, features Needles strutting a series of goth-glam looks down a runway for an audience who sport Shia-LaBeouf-ian paper bag headwear, as lyrics describe "taxidermy 'round my neck" and how "these leather boots kick off my St. Marks look." In short, yes please.
Of course, Needles is far from the first Drag Race alum to enter the recording studio: Willam and Detox have gone viral several times over with their pop parodies (see: "Chow Down (at Chick-fil-A)," "Boy Is a Bottom," et al.); Raja had us gagging with "Diamond Crowned Queen"; and Manila Luzon recently rapped a verse or two on Cazwell's "Helen Keller." Even Shangela released the (mildly insufferable) single "Werqin' Girl." Ms. Needles, meanwhile, saw fit to put out a whole album — PG-13, which dropped just over a year ago and features tracks like "This Club is a Haunted House," "I Wish I Were Amanda Lepore," and (personal favorite) "Hail Satan!" featuring punk legend Jayne County.
Still, far from the same old song and dance (pun oh so intended), "Dressed to Kill" marks a turning point for Needles: As she explained to NewNowNext, this video is “the first that demonstrates my maturity — without relying on nostalgic gimmicks or campy one-liners. For the first time in my career, instead of making people laugh, I want to give looks so hot that they’ll want to fuck me.”
From her very first Drag Race promo — in which, asked to provide an adjective to describe the upcoming season, she chimed "cancelled!" — Needles has proved time upon time that she is a master of camp and comedy (or, at the very least, of gruesome puns). Just watch her impersonate RuPaul in Willam's "RuPaulogize" video — mugging like a pro, going cross-eyed for emphasis. In a way, it's a shame to see her depart from making us laugh, if only because she's so damn good at it.
More importantly, this shift from camp to couture seems to echo the direction of the show itself: Whether implicitly in its choice of contestants, or explicitly from the mouths of the judges, RuPaul's Drag Race tends to place a premium on being "fishy" — that is, looking convincingly like a (bedazzled-to-filth) woman. Numerous articles have complained that the show holds pageantry above performance, placing top comediennes like Pandora Boxx and Tammie Brown at an undue disadvantage. Needles's win seemed to plant a flag for queens who enjoy their glam with a healthy side of schtick, paving the way for Little-Edie-impersonating Jinkx Monsoon to snatch the crown a year later — so, to see her fall sway to the Santino-Rice-approved milieu of high fashion is necessarily, on some small level, a bit of a bummer. Drag Race is doing its part to bring drag into the mainstream, which is, of course, fantastic — but as it succeeds, it's important to keep in mind that there are many, many ways to show off your Charisma, Uniqueness, Nerve, and Talent, even those that have little if anything to do with "fish."
Still, at the end of the day, it's hard to fault Needles for wanting to look want-to-fuck-me good — because she does, and we do. (I mean, those boots alone...!) Plus it's clear from the press coverage that, video aside, Needles hasn't lost her sardonic edge: Apparently, her clothes are inspired by “everything from cocaine, plastic surgery, TV static, cigarettes, and fingernails to serial killers, H.R. Giger, and the Jonestown Massacre.” As usual, sick'ning doesn't even begin to cover it.