Billy Porter grabbed eyeballs at the Academy Awards last year when he challenged the stereotypes surrounding masculinity and femininity by simply wearing a black velvet tuxedo jacket overtop a full-skirted strapless velvet gown. The actor has again made a huge fashion statement at this year's Oscars by wearing a gender-bending style inspired by the British royal family.
The "Pose" actor looked an absolute royalty as he arrived at the red carpet at Los Angeles' Dolby Theatre. He wore a Giles Deacon custom couture outfit inspired by Kensington Palace, the royal residence of Prince William and Kate Middleton and their children- Princes George and Louis, and Princess Charlotte. Deacon is a designer often favoured by the royals and had even designed the bridal gown of Kate's sister Pippa Middleton.
"Welcome to the #academyawards2020. Let the fashion games begin!" Billy Porter wrote on Twitter alongside a picture of his red carpet look. "The Oscars are a royal event, so naturally we took inspiration from Kensington Palace. I'm officially a Queen with a KW," he wrote in another tweet.
The custom gown featured a sleeveless, high-neck, gold-foil-feathered bodice and a voluminous graphic skirt. The idea of the palace-inspired gown came from Porter's stylist, Sam Ratelle, who had taken a tour of the 415-year-old royal residence last year, reports New York Times.
The 50-year-old paired the outfit with golden buckled platform court shoes custom-designed by Jimmy Choo and accessorised his look with bracelets by Swarovski. According to Porter's stylist Ratelle, the shoes are a "parallel of a stripper shoe in Georgian times."
After the red-carpet appearance, the Grammy-winner removed his voluminous skirt to reveal similarly printed Georgian-inspired trousers for his pre-show hosting duties.
The Tony-winner also briefly joined Janelle Monáe on the stage during her performance of "It's a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood."
Speaking to the New York Times, Porter's stylist explained that the idea behind the skirt was not another attempt to challenge the rigid gender roles. "I don't see female energy. I see a dude. I see a dude wearing armor, wearing something that's artistic and innately couture," Ratelle said.
Porter has made brave fashion choices at the red carpet over the years. Apart from the gender-bending Oscars appearances, the Broadway artist wore a golden sun god costume at the Met Gala last year and a rotating blue hat resembling a chandelier with an electric fringe curtain at the recent Grammys, that also inspired a meme fest on social media.
For the 2019 Emmy Awards, where Porter also made history as the first openly gay, black actor to win the Emmy for outstanding actor in a drama, he flaunted a crystal manicure on his nails. The actor who attended the event in a crystal-embroidered Michael Kors pantsuit, took help from celebrity nail artist Vanessa Sanchez McCullough for the Swarovski crystals, which later influenced several men to follow the trend.