Billy Porter‘s incredible Oscar red carpet look — a tuxedo gown designed by Christian Siriano — had everyone talking, but it was actually inspired by a legend of New York ballroom culture, Hector Xtravaganza.
Xtravaganza, dubbed the “Godfather of Ballroom,” sadly passed away on Dec. 30, 2018. A pioneering member of the New York ballroom scene, he appeared in the classsic doc Paris Is Burning and more recently he was a consultant on Pose, which Porter stars in.
Port spoke to Vogue about the look,
“Now I’m in a space where, being on Pose, I’m invited to red carpets and I have something to say through clothes. 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.
We wanted to play between the masculine and the feminine. This look was interesting because it’s not drag. I’m not a drag queen, I’m a man in a dress. He came up with a tux on the top, and a ballgown that bursts out at the bottom. I wore it with Rick Owens shoes. …
From this [Oscars] moment, I want people to understand that you don’t have to understand or even agree with other people’s authenticity or truths, but we must all respect each other. People are going to be really uncomfortable with my black ass in a ball gown — but it’s not anybody’s business but mine.“
A comparison of Porter’s look and a vintage shot of Xtravaganza was posted by the House of Xtravaganza on Instagram.
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With love… POSE star Billy Porter channels ballroom icon Hector Xtravaganza on the Academy Awards red carpet #houseofxtravaganza #xtravaganzapower #xtravaganza #ballroomscene #vogueball #lgbthistory #hectorxtravaganza #stillmoist #billyporter #posefx #academyawards #redcarpet @grandfatherhectorxtravaganza @theebillyporter
(Photo, Avalon Red; via Hornet)