At events like the Oscars, you tend to look at what the women are wearing. However, this year Billy Porter has made a strong case for not forgetting the men on the red carpet.
The actor and singer attended the 91st Academy Awards wearing a tuxedo-gown hybrid. The top half of his outfit looks like classic men’s formalwear, which then blossoms out into a full velvet skirt.
Porter is known for his bold fashion choices – to the Golden Globes this year he wore an embroidered suit with a pink cape.
For the Oscars, Porter’s custom outfit was created by Christian Siriano – a designer who has built up a reputation for embracing inclusivity and designing for those who the fashion industry doesn’t normally pay much attention to.
Porter topped off his outfit with Oscar Heyman jewels, and the second he stepped onto the red carpet everyone agreed his look was nothing short of iconic.
Even director Ava DuVernay tweeted her approval of the outfit.
Ryan Murphy – creator of American Horror Story, which Porter appears in – posted a picture of the actor on Instagram with the caption: “Billy Porter wins Best Dressed. There is no competition.”
Menswear on the red carpet is seeing something of a renaissance in 2019, with high-profile figures increasingly treading the line between masculine and feminine. This was highlighted when Timothee Chalamet wore a Louis Vuitton harness bib to the Golden Globes.
Porter is undoubtedly leading the way in femme-dressing, and writes in Vogue of his outfit: “My goal is to be a walking piece of political art every time I show up. To challenge expectations. What is masculinity?”
Because Porter is interviewing celebs on the Oscars red carpet, he’s also thought about the practicalities of his outfit. After initially wearing this resplendent gown, he was changing into a tux with palazzo pants.
Fashion is a tool for self-expression, so it’s no surprise that men are increasingly getting in on the action.
It’s a way of making a statement, and Porter says in Vogue: “People are going to be really uncomfortable with my black ass in a ball gown — but it’s not anybody’s business but mine.”