Billy Porter struggled to find a fashion house willing to create his gender-fluid outfit for the 2019 Academy Awards.
The 49-year-old actor showed up to the Oscars in a head-turning custom tuxedo gown created by inclusive designer, Christian Siriano, in February, and now the star has revealed he received a lot of "pushback" from fashion houses who were unwilling to help him create the iconic look.
He said: "I went to the Christian Siriano show, and I’ve loved him since ‘Project Runway’. I remember distinctly the challenge where they had to make clothes for regular-sized people.
"It’s in his DNA to be inclusive with his work. So if anybody was going to help me do this, it would be him. Because we had already come up against a lot of pushback. When we would ask for male and female things because I wanted to do a gender fluid thing, many houses were saying, ‘We don’t think he should wear that.’
"Once again, a silencing. So I went to Christian’s show, and I went to the after party. I was dancing with Christian, I whispered in his ear. I said, ‘I’m doing this Oscar thing and I want you to make me a ball gown.’ And he literally was like, ‘Call the office on Monday.’"
And Billy – who shot to fame following his appearance as cabaret performer Lola in the Award-winning Cyndi Lauper musical ‘Kinky Boots’ – insisted he wants his looks to be reflective of him as a brand and an activist for inclusivity.
He told W magazine: "So here’s what happened. I really began to try to figure out business-wise for myself. I am the business, I am the brand. Trying to start thinking in that sort of relationship to myself. What is my brand?
"I know that for certain that my brand will also include fashion in some way. Fashion is hard to break into from the theatre. It also is hard to break into when you’re above a certain age. But that’s cool, it didn’t matter. For me. I’m going to do it anyway."