Monday, February 25, 2019

Billy Porter won the Oscars red carpet

What was your favorite look from last night's Oscars red carpet? Mine was Billy Porter's. The Kinky Boots and Pose star stunned in a Christian Siriano tuxedo gown - buttery black velvet, gender fluid, business on top and party down below... Ladies, step aside. He stole the show.

Perhaps the best thing about Porter's look is the conversation around it. The questions go beyond, "Who are you wearing?" In fact, we're forced to dig deeper. What's the story behind Porter's fashion choice? What kind of statement is he making? What was his motivation? What is my own reaction? Do I like this? Do I hate it? Is it OK for a man to wear a dress? Why are we even discussing whether it's OK or not? What does that say about society?

I think there's powerful symbolism in his choice. Porter's gown rings of freedom, rebellion and empowerment. "I have something to say through clothes," he has said about his Red Carpet fashion choices. "My goal is to be a walking piece of political art. To challenge expectations."

I'm reminded of lyrics in Madonna's What It Feels Like For a Girl:

Girls can wear jeans and cut their hair short
Wear shirts and boots 'cause it's okay to be a boy
But for a boy to look like a girl is degrading
'Cause you think that being a girl is degrading
But secretly you'd love to know what it's like wouldn't you
What it feels like for a girl

Bravo to Billy Porter for encouraging all of us to think carefully and critically - particularly as we experience major cultural shifts in art, fashion, media, sports, entertainment, business and beyond.

He won much more than the Red Carpet.  

Glenn Close's reaction to Billy Porter's tuxedo gown is EVERYTHING.