The Final Look: Rainbow Raver/Nickole Muse
“It doesn’t matter how old you are; you can always run away with the circus,” says Nickole Muse. A stilt-walker and fire hula-hooper in Las Vegas, Muse carries as much personality as her rainbow raver costume does – or more. “I can take on a different personality when I wear it,” she says.
The rainbow raver was designed by curatorial team member Jenny Leigh Du Puis in 2011 in Las Vegas. Made with tubular crinoline and incredible attention to detail, the suit was inspired by the explosion-of-color tattoo on Muse’s back, a tribute to her father. While she now commonly uses it for clowning, the suit has seen a lot of wear over the years: “at least three pride parades in Vegas, and I’m always featured in some kind of news story,” she recalls. “I also wore it to Burning Man, where I blew people’s minds.”
A warrior for pride and expressions of identity through clothing, Muse believes the suit’s most compelling power is what it has shown her about herself. “I can get away with a lot of ridiculousness when I wear it,” she says, “so long as I say it in a cute voice and bop people on the nose.” But the suit also has a capacity for sexy appearances, she argues. Perhaps the most seductive quality of the rainbow raver is the boldness it pulls out of its wearer.
“I can bring a lot of energy and light into someone’s life,” says Muse. It’s a suit made for interaction, and it’s meant to be enjoyed – not admired. She can propel a serious-looking grown man into a fit of giggles, lead the path to the pot of gold on St. Patrick’s Day, get down at gay night clubs in her city, and even walk on stilts. Even more, she can realize all the aspects of her personality, unapologetically, through something as simple as “a rainbow [she] can wear.”