Billy Porter wanted his tuxedo dress at the 2019 Oscars to “play with genders”.
The Pose star graced the red carpet at the annual awards ceremony wearing the show-stopping Christian Siriano design, which featured a traditional tuxedo on the top, but a voluminous ballgown skirt on the bottom.
The dress made headlines around the world, but Billy revealed to WWD that the now-iconic gown almost didn’t happen, as he was turned away from many designers.
“We had already been coming up against a wall with many designers because I wanted to do this gender-bending, fluid thing. We just got flat-out no’s from a lot of people. ‘We don’t think you should be wearing that.’ That kind of silencing thing that happens. I’m older now so I knew what it looked like. I’ll do it anyway,” he explained. “It was my idea to do the top and the bottom, playing with genders.”
The 50-year-old, who won an Emmy last year for his role as Pray Tell on the musical drama series, also insisted that former Project Runway winner Christian would be the only designer who could understand his tuxedo dress vision.
“I knew I needed to wear a ballgown and Christian is the only person who would look me in the face and say yes. He did it in nine days,” Billy shared, adding that he has “always loved” the 34-year-old fashion star. “He’s always been the designer that understands that everybody on the planet wears clothes, whether you’re a size 0 or a size 400.”