Actor Billy Porter wore a black velvet tuxedo dress designed by Christian Siriano on the red carpet of the 91st Academy Awards on February 24, 2019. At the time, Porter had recently come into public view for his breakout role in the FX television series Pose , and had been receiving attention for his boundary-pushing red carpet attire during the 2018–19 film awards season. Following his appearance at the 76th Golden Globe Awards in a custom silver suit with fuchsia-lined cape, he was invited to host red carpet interviews at the upcoming Oscars pre-show. Porter approached Siriano and they conceived the tuxedo gown in collaboration.
The gown was well received by fashion journalists, who highlighted its elegant design. It cemented Porter's status as a celebrity and as a fashion icon. Fashion critics have described it as a favorite Oscars dress and one of Porter's most fashionable red carpet looks. Porter has described the outfit as a piece of political art intended to drive a conversation about men's fashion and masculinity, for which it has received praise from fashion writers, academics, and the general public, as well as criticism from conservative commentators.
Billy Porter first came to prominence after originating the role of drag queen "Lola" in the Broadway musical Kinky Boots in 2013, for which he won the 2013 Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical.In 2018, he was cast as ball culture fashion designer Pray Tell in the critically acclaimed FX drama Pose , which critics have called his breakout role. Porter made several red carpet appearances during the 2018–19 film awards season on the strength of his performance in Pose, wearing outfits – both suits and dresses – by designers including Tom Ford and Michael Kors.
Porter was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Television Series Drama for his role in Pose.On January 6, 2019, he walked the red carpet at the 76th Golden Globe Awards in a custom silver suit with fuchsia-lined cape designed by Randi Rahm. Porter, who is gay, stated that he wanted to wear an outfit that would prompt a conversation about red carpet fashion and its relationship to masculinity for his first major awards show appearance. Following the Golden Globes, Porter's popularity soared; he later said that the outfit "changed everything for me."
In early February 2019, ABC News asked Porter to host Oscars pre-show interviews on the red carpet at the 91st Academy Awards, scheduled for February 24.Porter wanted to wear a custom gown, and selected designer Christian Siriano based on his reputation for dressing celebrities whose bodies and style do not fit into conventional norms of beauty and fashion. Porter and his stylist Sam Ratelle approached Siriano after his February 9 show at New York Fashion Week.
Despite the short notice – custom red carpet gowns typically take months to complete – Siriano accepted immediately. Working from Porter's desire to play with gender norms, Siriano came up with the combined ball gown and tuxedo concept. He also designed a secondary outfit for Porter after discovering that the gown would be impractical for the stage where Porter was set to conduct interviews.The entire design was created over a single week. Siriano, Ratelle, and their teams worked up to 18 hours a day to complete the outfits.
The final ensemble comprised a full-length strapless black velvet ball gown over a white tuxedo shirt with ruffled cuffs, topped by a black velvet tuxedo jacket with silk lapels and black bow tie.Porter wore jewellery by Oscar Heyman and six-inch heeled boots by Rick Owens with the outfit. Following his arrival, Porter changed into a tuxedo with black velvet palazzo pants in order to conduct pre-show interviews.
Ratelle stated that the design was inspired by the Auguste Renoir painting Madame Georges Charpentier and her Children (1878). Users on social media compared Porter's outfit to a similar 1980s look by ball culture icon Hector Xtravaganza. Ratelle confirmed that the resemblance was unintentional, but stated that he and Porter felt it was an honor "to pay our respects to Hector".
Porter described the ensemble as a political statement that challenges norms of masculinity and femininity. Speaking to Vogue in 2019, he said, "This look was interesting because it's not drag. I'm not a drag queen, I'm a man in a dress."He later explained to Variety that he was interested in continuing to push the norms for what was considered acceptable for masculine red carpet fashion. He also called his choice to wear a dress to the Oscars a business decision, saying that as an entertainer, seeking attention via fashion was part of how he earned a living.
Fashion critics responded positively to the dress upon its debut, highlighting its elegant design and boundary-pushing gender expression. Erica Gonzales of Harper's Bazaar wrote that it "looked worthy of its own Academy Award."Vanity Fair placed Porter on its "best dressed" list for 2019. People called the dress "one of the biggest style moments of the Oscars red carpet". Choire Sicha of The New York Times called his arrival "an exciting start" to the night, and expressed disappointment that few other guests dressed to subvert gender roles in the same way. The Philadelphia Inquirer called Porter "the belle of the gender-bending red carpet season". TheNew Yorker described it as "a sumptuous collision of butch-femme aesthetics." Several outlets felt that Porter's look had stolen the show. Some critics joked that he had "won" the red carpet completely. A number of critics noted that the dress generated a significant response on social media platforms like Instagram and Twitter. Year-end data from the Google search engine showed that Porter's gown was the most-searched-for red carpet outfit of 2019.
Porter did attract some criticism for wearing a dress on the red carpet.American conservative political commentator Tomi Lahren called the look an "assault on masculinity". Users on social media accused him of contributing to the emasculation of black men. Porter dismissed these criticisms, saying, "I don't understand why my putting on a dress causes this much strife in your life."
In February 2020, the Twitter account of long-running children's show Sesame Street posted photos of Porter wearing the dress while filming an appearance on the show, prompting criticism from conservative commentators. Arkansas Republican senator Jason Rapert made a series of critical posts on Facebook, culminating in the suggestion that he would pass a bill to cut funding from PBS, the publicly-funded television network that produces Sesame Street. Porter went ahead with the episode as planned, stating, "If you don't like it, don't watch it".
Following his appearance at the 91st Academy Awards, Porter became popularly known as a fashion icon, with the tuxedo gown frequently mentioned as his first high-profile fashion moment and one of his most fashionable overall.According to Porter, his public profile took off after the Oscars, which he attributed directly to the impact of the tuxedo gown. Porter expressed surprise at the reaction to the gown, saying that "I didn't know it was going to be a thiiinnng." In contrast, Siriano expected the dress to be a hit, saying "I don't think any man has ever worn a gown on the Oscars red carpet before."
Fashion critics writing in retrospect have described the tuxedo gown as an iconic Oscars dress.Writing for Allure in 2020, Ashley C. Ford called the look "the picture of poise and regality." CNN Style writer Marianna Cerini remembered Porter's outfit as "the only look everyone wanted to talk about". Los Angeles Times columnist Robin Abcarian, in a 2022 column about Oscars fashion, called the tuxedo gown a "tasteful way to challenge fashion orthodoxies."
Academics have also considered the legacy of the dress. Queer theorist Kathryn Bond Stockton agreed with Porter's statement that the dress was an expression of power, rhetorically asking if it could "change whole systems".Fashion historian Lydia Edwards agreed that the gown was a "powerful statement of the individual's queer identity", but felt that the ball gown was unlikely to become known as a "genderless" garment given its "unrelenting feminine history". Elizabeth Castaldo Lundén placed the tuxedo dress in counterpoint to a long history of women wearing suits at the Oscars. Lundén also noted that although Porter wore another gown to the 92nd Academy Awards in 2020, the press had by then "incorporated his fashion statement into the usual pool of red-carpet critique", so it was no longer treated as unusual.
In October 2021, Porter criticized Vogue for featuring English musician Harry Styles in a dress as their first male solo cover model.He felt selecting a "straight white man" to represent genderfluid fashion was inappropriate, saying that he "had to fight my entire life to get to the place where I could wear a dress to the Oscars and not be gunned down. All he has to do is be white and straight". Porter later apologized for bringing Styles into the conversation, saying that his criticism was directed at "the systems of oppression and erasure of people of color who contribute to the culture".
A photograph of the gown was featured at "Gender Bending Fashion", a 2019 exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, along with other gender non-conforming fashion items such as a tuxedo worn by Marlene Dietrich in Morocco (1930).In 2022, the dress was featured in the show "Fashioning Masculinities: The Art of Menswear" at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. It was displayed with a wedding dress worn by drag queen Bimini Bon-Boulash on the second series of RuPaul's Drag Race UK and the Gucci gown Styles wore on the cover of Vogue.
Vera Ellen Wang is an American fashion designer.
Elie Saab is a Lebanese fashion designer.
Christian Vincent Siriano is an American fashion designer and member of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA). Siriano first gained attention after winning the fourth season of American design competition show Project Runway in 2007, becoming the series' youngest winner. He launched his namesake "Christian Siriano" collection in 2008, which brought in revenue of over $1.2 million by 2010 and was estimated to have reached $5 million by 2012.
Samata Pattinson is a British-born Ghanaian fashion entrepreneur. She is known for her work as CEO of Suzy Amis Cameron's Red Carpet Green Dress organisation, which, as part of its activities, delivers sustainable fashion on the red carpet at the Oscars each year. Samata has contributed to, The Guardian, EuroNews, Vogue and Huffington Post and others. Her work in the fields of fashion and sustainability have received coverage from different magazines.
Billy Porter is an American actor, singer, and author. He graduated from Carnegie Mellon University School of Drama, and achieved fame performing on Broadway before starting a solo career as a singer and actor.
The Dress of the Year is an annual fashion award run by the Fashion Museum, Bath from 1963. Each year since 1963, the Museum has asked a fashion journalist to select a dress or outfit that best represents the most important new ideas in contemporary fashion. For 2010 the Museum broke with tradition by asking the milliner Stephen Jones, rather than a journalist, to choose an outfit; and again in 2014 when the fashion blogger, Susanna Lau of Style Bubble, was asked to choose an outfit for 2013. The outfit is then donated to the Fashion Museum along with an Adel Rootstein mannequin to represent that year's total look.
The Met Gala, or Met Ball, formally called the Costume Institute Gala or the Costume Institute Benefit, is an annual fundraising gala held for the benefit of the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute in New York City. It is popularly regarded as the world's most prestigious fashion event, and an invitation is highly sought after. Celebrities from various professional spheres, such as fashion, film, television, theater, music, business, sports, social media, and politics, are invited to the gala, organized by the fashion magazine Vogue.
American entertainer Jennifer Lopez wore a green Versace silk chiffon dress to the 42nd Grammy Awards ceremony on February 23, 2000. The sheer fabric was printed with a tropical leaf and bamboo pattern, and cut with a very low neckline that extended well past Lopez's navel, while the waist of the dress was studded with citrines.
Angelina Jolie wore a white satin dress with a plunging neckline designed by Marc Bouwer at the 76th Academy Awards on February 29, 2004. It has been described in subsequent years by fashion and celebrity publications as a memorable and stylish selection that was reminiscent of classical Hollywood style. It was the second time that Jolie wore a Marc Bouwer dress to the Oscars. In 2000 she accepted her Oscar for Girl, Interrupted in a frock designed by Bouwer.
Australian actress Cate Blanchett wore a pale yellow silk taffeta Valentino dress to the 77th Academy Awards on 26 February 2005. It was the dress Blanchett wore when she won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in The Aviator in front of some 42.1 million people on American television. Cosmopolitan has cited the gown as one of the Best Oscar dresses of all time, stating, "In this yellow silk taffeta gown created especially for her by Valentino, Cate looks like a classic Hollywood starlet. The one-shoulder strap and contrasting belt are great details, and the color is perfect for her milk-white skin."
Barbara Tfank is an American fashion designer, best known for designing the lavender Prada gown worn by Uma Thurman at the 67th Academy Awards.
Red carpet fashion refers to the outfits worn on the red carpet at high-profile gala celebrity events such as award ceremonies and film premieres. The clothes worn to award events such as the Oscars and the Golden Globes consistently receive intense worldwide media scrutiny, making their red carpets an international product placement area of great importance to fashion designers. Despite the publicity given to award ceremonies, other red-carpet events such as the Vogue-hosted Met Ball also have a significant impact on the fashion world.
Red carpet fashion in 2000 was largely overshadowed by the revealing green Versace dress worn by Jennifer Lopez for February's Grammy awards, which became one of the most talked-about and widely publicised red-carpet dresses of the year. For the 57th Golden Globe Awards Halle Berry borrowed a glamorous Valentino dress, that was described as setting the standard for Golden Globe red carpet style, and according to Phillip Bloch, her stylist at the time, "began the time when a dress could actually make a career."
Red carpet fashion in 2002 saw January's Golden Globes called "simple and safe", and the Oscars in March described as "conservative" and "a night of fashion blunders". The events of September 11 the previous year had an effect on red carpet style, with many guests at September's Emmys choosing to wear black in remembrance of those who died.
Red carpet fashion in 2007 featured beading and metallic themes at the Golden Globe Awards, dresses with a single shoulder strap at the Oscars, and strong colours or black-and-white at the Emmy Awards.
Red carpet fashion in 2009 featured unusually extravagant couture looks at the Golden Globes, asymmetrical one-shouldered gowns in neutral or jewel tones at the Oscars, and bright, relatively understated styles at the Emmys.
"I'll Deal with Him Later" is the second episode of the BBC America television show Killing Eve. It aired on 15 April 2018 in the United States and 22 September 2018 in the United Kingdom.
The fashion of Diana, Princess of Wales, had a substantial impact on the clothing industry; her style in the 1980s and 1990s led her to be considered a fashion icon.
Lupita Nyong'o wore a blue dress on March 2, 2014 to the 86th Academy Awards at the Dolby Theatre, at which she won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in 12 Years a Slave (2013). In collaboration with Nyong'o, the gown was designed by Prada and styled by Micaela Erlanger. After the ceremony, the dress garnered critical praise from fashion blogs and publications, being cited on several 'best dressed' lists and considered one of the most significant gowns in Hollywood history.
Angelina Jolie wore a black dress on February 26, 2012, to the 84th Academy Awards at the Hollywood and Highland Center, where she presented the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. Jolie's gown was styled by Jen Rade and created by Versace, a frequent dresser of Jolie on the red carpet. The strapless velvet piece gained praise from media publications, and is considered one of the most memorable dresses in fashion history. The look also spurred several internet memes surrounding Jolie's posing, and became a significant moment in pop culture.