Stage Clothes with May Rio

We talk stage clothes with May Rio → cold DMing designers on IG works, discovering Vivienne Westwood as a child, and knitting her own pieces


By Elsewhere@elsewherespace


What have you been wearing on stage? Anything new you've been liking?

May Rio (@mayriosembera)
I stan small designers who make weird and special things. Judith, Madeline Malenfant, Zoe Gustavia Anna Whalen, Greta Garmel. A lot of my looks this past year have channeled a kind of dark romance--I like to get fancy!

And then, on occasion, there will be a more conceptual set that calls for something like, ratty loungewear.

Do you collaborate with anyone? A stylist? A friend?

No stylist, usually just me hitting designers up on Instagram to see if they'd be down to loan out pieces for a show. Erik Goldberg (father, mother, creator of Judith) was once a stranger receiving a DM from me, but he's since become a sweetie friend. He ended up making some beautiful custom pieces for my album release show this past summer, whipped them out in just a couple of days. Erik is a psychopath when it comes to craftsmanship, and it's a certain type of energizing to slip something on that so much care has gone into.

Do you make any special pieces?

Would be cool, but I'd probably have to give up sleeping.

Where do you find stage clothes? Any fav shops?

One of my favorite gets of the year is a vintage rabbit fur vest from my friend Isobel's Depop. But really when it comes to stage fits, I learned pretty quickly that shopping for looks would be unsustainable. Sad! Once in a blue moon, I will "borrow" from a bigger department store. I've never encountered a problem with returns, but I will say this is stressful and I don't really recommend doing it.

Where does your sense of style come from? Any special sources of inspiration?

Seeing a Vivienne Westwood retrospective in the third grade hit me pretty hard. Oh man, I wanted to be punk so bad. I've had what feels like a lot of phases since then, but eventually I figured out that though there's a lot going on that I can admire, it's best to only wear something if I feel like myself when I'm wearing it.

Seeing a Vivienne Westwood retrospective in the third grade hit me pretty hard.

For me that mostly means vintage--I'm a sucker for French and Japanese designers. I have a lot of pieces at this point that I've knit for myself. With those pieces, along with everything else, quality of materials is super important to me. I'm kind of finicky with what I wear, but at the same time I have a lot of fun with it. It's important to have fun with it, I think.


May Rio is coming to Zone One on February 10thBuy tickets

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