Fashion

Style Icon – Billy Porter

It can’t be denied that there’s no better place to find the best-dressed celebrities than the Oscars, Golden Globes and Met Gala.

Stars like Natalie Portman, Billie Eilish and Rami Malek are adorned with garments from established designers such as Dior, Chanel and Saint Laurent. However, one star that continues to not only grab, but also quite frankly steal the attention of fashion journalists, photographers and every member of the general public, is Broadway star Billy Porter.

“As a member of the queer community, he describes this choice of outfit as a tool for self-expression and identity that allows him to disregard the status quo and be unapologetically himself.”

Billy Porter wows every time he steps onto the red carpet, defying every ‘rule’ of fashion in an effortlessly elegant and charming yet shocking manner. In a world where there is an ever-increasing move towards style that challenges gender stereotypes, Billy Porter takes this idea and runs with it at every event.

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One of the highlights of my life has been the opportunity to sing on the set of @sesamestreet with my new pal, Penelope the penguin. Together, we sang about the possibilities of new friendships with those who may not be exactly like us. I know people are all up in arms about me wearing the gorgeous custom @csiriano tuxedo dress that I wore at @theacademy awards in 2019 for the upcoming season. If you follow me, however, you know the impact it had. The emails, DMs, and messages of good will I received that day (and continue to receive) from parents and their children who have been bullied all over the world and desperately need to see someone like me, being their authentic selves on mainstream media, is far more important than anything #onemillionmoms could ever say. Friendship, kindness and inclusivity shall triumph. And often, it simply starts by saying hi. #sesamestreet #season51 🐧 🤵🏿@pbs . . Wearing custom @csiriano Styling by @sammyratelle

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One of Billy’s most memorable outfits that swept the nation off their feet would have to be his February 2020 Academy Awards gown. Billy confronted every inch of ‘toxic masculinity’ when he adorned a Christian Siriano ballgown that transitioned seamlessly into a tuxedo jacket, reflecting his fluid view of gender.

As a member of the queer community, he describes this choice of outfit as a tool for self-expression and identity that allows him to disregard the status quo and be unapologetically himself. Not only did he wear the outrageously intricate gown, but he also paired it with Rick Owens 6-inch chunky boots, a typically feminine item of clothing with a masculine edge. Billy truly ‘went there’ with this iconic outfit.

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Get on my nerves, and the curtain closes! 😂 Living for my @recordingacademy / #GRAMMYs custom @bajaeast lewk and custom hat by @sarahsokolmillinery styled by @sammyratelle. 💎💎💎 #grammys2020 . . Styling and Creative Direction by @sammyratelle for @rrrcreative agency | @thewallgroup⁠⠀ Make-Up by @nellichristine Cut by @johncotton3 Styling Assistants: @ashleymarienyc, @ashleydai1, @alexandra.bucokova Custom Look by @scottstudengerg of @bajaeast ⁠⠀ Custom Hat by @sarahsokolmillinery ⁠⠀ Mechanically enhanced by @smooth.technology ⁠⠀ Jewelry by @alexisbittar ⁠⠀ Custom handbag by @judithleiberny⁠⠀ Boots by @coach | Crystalized by @amorirstudio⁠⠀ Crystals provided by @preciosacomponents⁠⠀ Nails by @nailzbyvee | @cndworld 📸 by @santiagraphy & @gettyentertainment

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Another one of Billy’s legendary outfits was his figure-hugging Grammy Awards 2020 jumpsuit by Baja East. He wore a fully embellished teal blue catsuit paired with a matching structured suit jacket to complete the look. Again, combining aspects of formal elegance with an element of flare.

“The look was both sophisticated and shocking, which again, sums up Porters approach to his androgynous red-carpet fashion.”

But perhaps the most shocking part of the outfit was the draped curtain headpiece which – making it even more showstopping – was designed by Porter himself. As well as being extremely aesthetically pleasing, the outfit had a multidimensional element: the crystal curtaining closed around Billy’s face. Again, Billy went the extra mile with every aspect of this outfit, not only inviting conversations regarding the intricacy and glamour of his outfit, but also about queer identity and gender.

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Thank you to all who have taken the past six weeks to make this happen. Thank you to my Creative Director & Stylist @sammyratelle of @rrrcreative for your ability to dream big and for being by my side as we explore this new world. I am living my wildest high fashion dreams. @theblondsny @phillipeblond & @davidblond. There is no one like you. Thank you. For being kind. And fabulous. And glamorous. And snatched!!! I truly felt like a kween today. I will never forget it. @lasonyagunter, you beat this face for the gawds today gurl. Thank you for being my woman. @patmcgrathreal – I cant express enough gratitude for sponsoring our make up today. Mr. @giuseppezanotti – the fact that you created these shoes for me just for this night, is a dream come true. @nicolasputvinski thank you for allowing me to travel in style and designing the killer lewks for my escorts and palanquin. And to my sexy men, thank you for holding papa up . . Creative Director & Stylist for all @sammyratelle for @rrrcreative Agency Styling Assistant: @ashleymarienyc Production Assistant: @estershamailova Custom Look: @theblondsny Custom Shoes: @giuseppezanotti Fine Jewelry: @oscarheyman @andreolifinejewelry @johnhardyjewelry @mordekaiofficial Billy Porter's Make-Up: @lasonyagunter Make-Up Assistant: @mikeyclifton Make-Up provided by: @patmcgrathreal Egyptian Litter & Carrier Designs by: @nicolasputvinski Carriers Make-Up: @facebygoran & @ashleyvictoriamua Mr. Porter's Carriers: @julius_anthony @taureanje @kellenstancil @thejoshdrake @lap_nyc @doniejunior

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We can’t forget Porter’s 2019 Met Gala look where he drew inspiration from both Diana Ross and the Egyptian sun god Ra through his gold embossed jumpsuit and dripping gold headpiece. The look was both sophisticated and shocking, which again, sums up Porters approach to his androgynous red-carpet fashion. Apart from being covered from head to toe in eye-catching patterns, the jumpsuit also featured golden wings draped from the arms, elevating the look even further.

Not only did he stun the paparazzi with this iconic outfit, he also did so with his showstopping entrance, being carried in by 6 shirtless men adorned with golden headdresses. Is there a better way to enter the red carpet?

Judging from all of these looks, no doubt Porter will find a more showstopping entrance with an even more iconic look for his next red-carpet debut. But until then, we’ll just have to remain in awe of that stunning teal headpiece…

Francesca Wormald

Featured Image courtesy of Billy Porter via Facebook 

Main Images courtesy of theebillyporter via Instagram

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