Mr. Porter came to slay today. Then again, doesn’t he do that every day?
There’s something really important happening here and we don’t think people quite realize it. Billy has made it very clear in interviews that he doesn’t consider himself a drag queen, nor does he identify as non-binary or transgender. He’s been very consistent in pointing out that he is a man working to push the boundaries of what men can and should wear and in doing so ask questions about why a label needs to be applied to it or even why anyone should be paying attention to it at all. He’s not wearing this ironically or with camp undertones. He’s not trying to be shocking and we’d even go so far as to suggest he’s not necessarily concerned with being the fiercest bitch in the room. He’s wearing this because he thinks it’s beautiful and it makes him feel beautiful. That is the essence of fashion but it’s also a deep dive into gender expectations by someone who remains on the binary. You could argue that, as a gay male performer whose breakout Broadway role was a drag queen, he’s always been more oriented toward gender non-conforming presentation, but when we contrast Billy’s approach to style with someone like, say Jonathan Van Ness, who also loves to wear traditional womenswear on the red carpet but identifies as non-binary or genderqueer, Billy’s comes off way more fashion-oriented and much more concerned with getting the aesthetic correct. If we’re reading him correctly – and he’s had much to say on the matter in interviews – it’s not about expressing his true feelings about his gender. It’s about looking at gorgeous pieces of fashion and saying “Why the fuck can’t I wear this? I look amazing in it!”
And who can argue with him on that?
Christopher Kane Ensemble from the Fall 2019 Collection
[Photo Credit: Courtesy of Christopher Kane]
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