"Wear Something You're Comfortable In": Trans Icon Carlotta Gives Her Mardi Gras Style Tips

The legendary icon and LGBTQIA+ advocate gives her styling recommendations for getting the most out of Gay Christmas.
Concrete Playground
Published on February 24, 2023

Sydney WorldPride is now upon us and the Mardi Gras Parade is this weekend. If you've left your preparation to the last minute, we've enlisted the expertise of living legend Carlotta — a trans icon and cabaret performer who knows a thing or two about getting ready for a show.

Carlotta is currently featured in a special Sydney WorldPride installation in the QVB which pays tribute to queer Australians who have made significant contributions to the LGBTQIA+ community. The QVB is temporarily rebranding from the Queen Victoria Building to reflect each of these contemporary queens with a set of fabulous portraits by photographer Dream Syndicator (pictured above).

Carlotta is one of the queens in focus, along with queer activist Ken Davis (a member of the original Mardi Gras 78ers), Indigenous drag queen Felicia Foxx, Independent MP Alex Greenwich and Janine Middleton who, together, co-chaired Australian Equality and successfully fought for and helped achieve marriage equality in Australia.

Fashion and costume has always played a role in self-expression for queer communities, and when it comes to dressing up Mardi Gras is one of the biggest nights of the year. So Carlotta shared a few tips for any Pride newcomers looking for a bit of a steer.


Carlotta, what's the best way to mentally prepare for Pride? It's three weeks of (what seems to be) non-stop parties, so how does one survive?

"To prepare for Pride you need to be organised, wear something you're comfortable in (for Carlotta this would now be wearing flat shoes) and make sure you're drinking lots of water."

If you were going to Mardi Gras what would you be wearing?

"If I were to be going to the celebrations I would be wearing a Camilla Kaftan because it's bright and colourful but also loose, flowy and comfortable. I'd also be wearing flat shoes because my feet are suffering now and I can't wear high heels like I used to."

Where are some of the best places in Sydney to stock up on looks for Pride? 

For me it would be Camilla or House of Priscilla on Oxford Street (it has always been the best place).

Inside of House of Priscilla

How do you differentiate your day-to-day style versus your on-stage style? - Is your on-stage self an extension of your day-to-day or is it a completely new persona? 

"My day-to-day persona and on-stage persona are two completely different aspects. Day-to-day I wear more loose and flowy clothing, and on stage I'm more extravagant with lots of sequins and feathers."

How do you think fashion plays a role within the queer community in general?

Fashion plays a role in the queer community but all the fashion choices and styles are completely different. People can wear what they want to wear and that's what it's all about.

What have been your favourite Mardi Gras/Pride looks to date? 

I've always loved everything I've worn. My favourite look I've ever done is when I did Priscilla Queen Of The Desert — I wore a big white coat and feather collar.

Why do you think dressing up is such an important aspect of Pride? 

It's the excitement of the celebrations in the community. Everyone gets to me themselves and uses their outfits as self expression.

For more inspiration for how to make the most of this once-in-a-lifetime celebration head to our events guide on the best of Sydney WorldPride.

Published on February 24, 2023 by Concrete Playground
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