Culture / Fashion

Billy Porter’s most iconic looks ahead of London Pride

It’s safe to say that the world was just sleeping on him.

Tony and Grammy winner, Billy Porter isn’t just known for his extensive theatre background. His talent led him to his very own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and his fashion looks are on everyone’s lips.

With a musical career started in 1991, he can count many shows on his resumé, including Grease, Jesus Christ Superstar and Dreamgirls. In 2013, he played Lola in Broadway’s Kinky Boots (which landed him his first Tony and Grammy awards). In 2015, he directed HAM: A Musical Memoir and, in 2017, he recorded the Billy Porter Presents the Soul of Richard Rodgers album.

Since 2018, he’s been playing Pray Tell in the American television drama series Pose – for which he was nominated for a Golden Globe Award and a Critics’ Choice Television Award.

But what about his personal style?

In February he made quite the appearance on the Oscars red carpet by wearing a Christian Siriano black velvet tuxedo gown. In May, at the Met Gala, he was one of the few that really took the ‘Camp’ theme to heart: his gold Egyptian-inspired look had everyone shook.

In a recent interview, he told Vogue: “I grew up loving fashion, but there was a limit to the ways in which I could express myself.

“When you’re black and you’re gay, one’s masculinity is in question – I dealt with a lot of homophobia in relation to my clothing choices… I was trying to fit in to what other people felt I should look like.

“When I landed a role in Kinky Boots, the experience really grounded me in a way that was so unexpected. Putting on those heels made me feel the most masculine I’ve ever felt in my life. It was empowering to let that part of myself free.”

His choice of clothing is not only supposed to impress, he is making some serious political statements through fashion.

At the Tony Awards, he wore a gorgeous red and pink diamond-encrusted suit with a train specifically designed to look like female reproductive organs. On the red carpet he confirmed it was a pro-choice stance on women’s abortion rights.

He added: “It’s a beautiful nod to Elizabethan couture. At the fitting, we spoke about making a pattern on the train that was in the shape of a uterus, but not obvious, of course. And I thought it was awesome because women’s rights are under attack right now.

“I’m an advocate for all who are disenfranchised. None of us are free until we’re all free! I really want to make sure that I’m showing up for all of the disenfranchised people I can so that we can find power in our unity. This government is trying to take away the woman’s right to choose and that’s unacceptable.”

In June for the WorldPride NYC Parade, he pulled all the stops and stepped out in an incredible custom made Christian Siriano rainbow gown. He shared his look on Instagram and added: “Cheers to the family we make, the love we spread, and the acceptance we continue to fight for… oh and all while looking FIERCE doing it. Who’s with me?”

Whether you’re familiar with his work or sense of style, Billy Porter has been iconic for years and it’s safe to say that the world was just sleeping on him.

He is due to perform on Saturday at London Pride and, in preparation, we thought we would share a selection of his best looks yet.

4 July 2019