Billy Porter is not amused. And he is not a fan of dress-wearing Harry Styles on the cover of Vogue, even though that happened a while back. The issue that Billy Porter has with the Vogue cover is not just about a dress and the man wearing it. It’s more about representation.
Although to give Harry Styles due credit, he has appeared in androgynous clothing way more times than just on the Vogue cover and can wear just about anything he feels comfortable in. So what is Billy Porter’s grouse?
Men In Dresses Is An Old Concept
We’ve seen men in dresses plenty of times in the past. Think back to rock music classics, and you can visualize a mustached Freddie Mercury in a tiny skirt, with all the men of Queen in likewise drag.
Styles himself appeared in a full ballerina tutu for Saturday Night Live’s shoot in 2020 and was rather pleased with the results.
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His album covers and a lot of his public figure appearances are not in line with what is considered to be traditional masculinity. But Porter still feels that Vogue chose the wrong man to put in a dress.
Billy Porter Claims He Has Fought Long & Hard To Appear In A Dress
In an interview with Sunday Times, when talking about fashion and men wearing dresses, Porter said, “I changed the whole game… And that is not ego, that is just fact. I was the first one doing it and now everybody is doing it.”
And Porter has been hailed as a hero but he has not let the fame go to his head. Rather, he says, “I feel like the fashion industry has accepted me because they have to. I’m not necessarily convinced and here is why. I created the conversation [about non-binary fashion] and yet Vogue still put Harry Styles, a straight white man, in a dress on their cover for the first time.”
Porter Has Nothing Against Styles, Personally
Of course, Porter went on to say that he had no personal grouse with Styles. But he did say that the Vogue cover, featuring a mean for the first time, could have done better in choosing an LGBTQ+ icon, as opposed to Harry Styles. He said, “I’m not dragging Harry Styles, but he is the one you’re going to try and use to represent this new conversation? He doesn’t care, he’s just doing it because it’s the thing to do. This is politics for me. This is my life. I 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.”
And Styles himself echoed something similar to the Guardian a while back when it came to clothing. “In terms of how I wanna dress, and what the album sleeve’s gonna be, I tend to make decisions in terms of collaborators I want to work with. I want things to look a certain way. Not because it makes me look gay, or it makes me look straight, or it makes me look bisexual, but because I think it looks cool. And more than that, I dunno, I just think sexuality’s something that’s fun.”