16 Times Billy Porter Absolutely Slayed on the Red Carpet
Switching seamlessly between feminine couture and masculine tailoring, Billy Porter blurs the imaginary lines of gender. Tuxedo jacket with a princess waist and ballgown skirt? Bet. Arriving at the Met Gala laying on a palanquin carried by six escorts? Your fave could neverrrr. Each look sparks so much joy and freedom that we’re left to wonder why we ever limited ourselves to one gendered department of any store. He's a genderfluid demigod.
“My goal is to be a walking piece of political art every time I show up. To challenge expectations. What is masculinity? What does that mean? Women show up every day in pants, but the minute a man wears a dress, the seas part,” Porter said in an essay for Vogue.
Like a true icon, Porter knows that his every move can be used to spread awareness for the creatives in his community. Besides the immaculate execution of each outfit, Porter and his team, led by creative director Sam Ratelle, often collaborate with socially conscious brands and LGBTQ+ designers to create his look.
We sifted through the abundance of fierce outfits to bring you 16 of Porter’s most iconic red carpet looks...and counting.
The 2020 Academy Awards
Inspired by royals, Porter showed up to the 2020 Academy Awards in a golden gown by none other than royal-favorite designer Giles Deacon, the mastermind behind many of Kate Middleton’s looks. Complete with a bodice of golden feathers and a bold-printed high-low skirt, this look soared above the rest.
The 2020 Grammys
Porter wore a bedazzled turquoise jumpsuit to the 2020 Grammys, complete with silver fringe and silver platform boots. But what really got people talking was the matching hat, which featured a motorized crystallized curtain for—quite literally—blocking out the haters. Ratelle told Vanity Fair that Porter's red carpet look was inspired by Billie Eilish, who wore a custom-made beekeeper-style bonnet with a net that covered her face at the American Music Awards in November 2019. We couldn't be more obsessed.
The 2020 Critics Choice Awards
While we were drooling over Porter's custom two-tone seafoam silk jumpsuit designed by Hogan McLaughlin at the 2020 Critics Choice Awards, the real message was worn on his body. The butterfly tattoos that graced his back, chest, and arms were a gorgeous ode to the transgender community. Porter's Instagram caption of the look explained that it is part of his theme for 2020: "being released from the bondage of masculinity and flying free."
The 2020 Golden Globes
This custom Alex Vinash white tuxedo with a luxurious feather train has become another one of Porter's iconic red carpet looks. Porter looked absolutely ethereal as he walked the carpet, train billowing behind him. Plus, according to his Instagram, his Tiffany & Co. dragonfly brooch was worn to represent a "transformation and self-realization." We love to see it.
The 2020 AFI Awards
Hello, haute couture! Porter wore a Hogan McLaughlin blush pink, satin, cap-sleeved gown with a long train to the 2020 American Film Institute Awards and completed the ensemble with a thick silver chain necklace and wide-brim black hat. Werk.
The 2019 Emmys
Porter loves a good headpiece or hat, and at the 2019 Emmy Awards, his black-and-white pinstripe Michael Kors Couture suit was complemented by this larger-than-life asymmetrical piece created by British designer Stephen Jones. The look is likely extra special to Porter, as this was the year he won the 2019 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama series for Pose, thereby becoming the first openly gay Black man to be nominated and win in any lead acting category at the Primetime Emmys.
The 2019 Love Ball
The 2019 Peabody Awards
The 2019 Met Gala
We imagine that when Porter and his team dreamt up entering the Met Gala on a velvet and gold palanquin carried by literal escorts, they were thinking, “Let’s make sure literally no one can walk the red carpet after us." The intricate, hand-beaded, larger-than-life golden creation is made by The Blonds, a fashion house led by two LGBTQ+ icons Phillipe and David Blond. Vogue has even named it one of the best Met Gala entrances of all time.
The 2019 Paley Fest
For an appearance at the Paley Fest, Porter collaborated with The Phluid Project, a store that curates clothing brands for and by the LGBTQ+ community. The look featured a chic coral caftan by Travis Oestreich, a striped jacket by Palomo Spain, and burgundy silk paneled pants by Vasilis Loizides—all independent LGBTQ+ designers curated by The Phluid Project.
The 2019 Academy Awards
Famed designer and former Project Runway winner Christian Siriano made this custom couture tuxedo ballgown for Porter's appearance at the 2019 Academy Awards. Not only did he nearly steal the show with this look, but from here on out, Porter became even more comfortable with pushing the status quo in red carpet fashion.
The 2018 AFI Awards
We’re SCREAMING at this honey-golden moment featuring a Calvin Klein dress and Dolce & Gabbana jacket for the 2018 American Film Institute Awards. This is the best appearance of yellow on an icon since Beyonce in “Hold Up.”
The 2019 Golden Globes
Couturier Randi Rahm was NOT playing with us when he concocted this look! Porter’s two-piece suit at the Golden Globes, paired with a cape lined with hot pink satin and crusted with appliqué flowers, is still everything.
The 2018 Broadway Premiere of "To Kill a Mockingbird"
For the premiere of To Kill a Mockingbird on Broadway, Porter donned an oversized jacket with intricate embroidery, velvet lapels, and matching palazzo pants by Xllullan.
Out Magazine's Out 100 Party
Keeping Pantone’s Color of the Year on lock, Porter paired a sheer coral organza jacket with a silver draped knit top and black pants for Out Magazine’s Out 100 Party. Rinat Brodach slayed this ultra-cool outfit once again.
The 2019 GLSEN Respect Awards
Porter wore a stunning Michael Kors dress to the GLSEN Respect Awards in October 2018, showing the world how versatile the LBD really is. He paired the dress with patterned pants and a bright yellow hat by Christopher Jay Heller.