Billy Porter in Alex Vinash for Colbert Appearance

Billy Porter appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, wearing Fashion Week Columbus 2017 Headline Designer Alex Vinash!

Mixing the outrageous and the political is Porter’s métier, and the Tony and Grammy winner, in response to Colbert’s praise of the elaborately fabulous gold and frills ensemble Porter sported for the appearance, explained how his splashy scene-making is as much about statement as spectacle. Asked if fashion can be political, Porter responded, in the affirmative,“especially when it comes to gender.” Thanking Katherine Hepburn alongside Colbert for breaking that whole “women wearing pants” taboo, yet Porter claimed it was beyond time to do the same for men. Calling out the implications in the double standard, Porter told Colbert that, while a woman in pants is seen as powerful (thanks to patriarchal notions that “male” equals “power”), “the minute a man puts on a dress, it’s disgusting.” Pledging to continue his role in busting down that particular dressing room door, Porter exclaimed to a cheering Late Show crowd, “I’m a man in a dress, and if I feel like wearing a dress, I’m gonna wear one!”

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Mellissa Miller