Billy Porter’s red carpet looks often go down in history. From his black velvet tuxedo dress at last year’s Oscars, to his most recent blue Grammys look complete with an electric fringe curtain, his style is always among the most-talked-about.
Each ensemble makes a statement or sends a message, and for this year’s Oscars, Porter says his look was “all about royalty”.
He walked the red carpet in a sleeveless, high-neck, gold feathered bodice with a dramatic graphic skirt, that was inspired by Kensington Palace.
Last year, Porter’s stylist Sam Ratelle took a tour of the royal palace and found himself imagining the parties shown there during the Georgian era.
“I thought, ‘The Oscars are kind of a royal event,” he explained to The New York Times, so he asked designer Giles Deacon to create a regal gown for Porter that was inspired by Kensington Palace.
Deacon, who had previously researched the palace for his previous collections, explained how he loved the grand Cupola Room, which featured a grand dome with gold, wood and marble.
“I love the idea of Billy being this kind of messenger sent from the gods,” Deacon explained, saying how he wanted to turn the room’s walls into a print for Porter’s skirt.
Porter’s looks regularly defy gender stereotypes in fashion, however Ratelle explained that this time it wasn’t all about that.
“I don’t see female energy,” he spoke of the skirt. “I see a dude wearing armour, wearing something that’s artistic and innately couture.”
The stylist explained how he hopes that this Oscars look is a gateway into the couture world for him and Porter.
Ratelle highlighted how it’s a part of fashion they haven’t been able to break into just yet, because of the “reluctance of high-fashion designers to put a man in a dress”.
“The last two years have been about getting to this point. Now that we’re here, it’s the next place to go,” he explained, referring to couture.
“We’ve not worked with Valentino. We’ve not worked with Chanel.”
The royal-inspired look was one of many Porter wore on the night, including a gold-sequinned coat he wore onstage with Janelle Monáe and then his Vanity Fair after-party look of purple hat and of-the-moment matching leather opera gloves.
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