GILLES LORRAIN: GLAMOUR OF YORE

Ryan McGinley reports in VICE:

Idols is one of the best photography books I’ve ever seen. It was published in 1973 by photographer Gilles Larrain and it’s a collection of studio portraits of trannies, gender-benders, and just generally awesome-looking people in New York City. It’s an incredible time capsule. There are Warhol people, like Taylor Mead and Holly Woodlawn, and members of the San Francisco–based psychedelic drag-queen performance troupe the Cockettes. There’s a photo of the artist Al Hansen, aka Beck’s grandfather, covered in silvery paint and dressed up like some kind of Roman soldier, and an unrecognizable teenage Harvey Fierstein, looking like a young pretty Jewish lady (well, almost). Most important, these people all had the best style. The greatest fashion always originates with drag queens. The outfit you’re wearing today was probably invented by a drag queen ten years ago.

The photo of Goldie Glitters is amazing. It almost looks like a painting.
None of this is manipulated. It’s raw. What you see is what you get.

Was this just what he happened to be wearing that day or did you style him?
It was a mixture of so many things. There was no formula; it was pure improvisation. We had lot of junk lying around and they came by in groups of 20 or 30, and they all shared things, having fun with makeup, playing with wigs and whatever. There was no direction. There was no intent to be specifically fashiony. It was purely divertissement, in the French sense—to have fun, create fun, and live fun. To enjoy the moment. Louis XV was great at that. Crazy parties in Versailles. Food, sex, everything. It was then that fashion began to move and be created. The culture of fashion comes from that time.