Stealing the style spotlight! How Billy Porter has become the breakout star of Fashion Month - wowing fans by modeling TWENTY different 'gender-less' front row looks in just five days

  • Billy, 49, and his over-the-top looks are the talk of the fashion world
  • The performer reportedly brought 12 suitcases to London for his appearances
  • Over the course of the show schedule he wore 20 different outfits  
  • The Pose star and his stylist are continually trying to challenge gender norms through fashion  
  • Billy also performed onstage during New York Fashion Week at The Blonds' Moulin Rouge-themed event 
  • The actor, who plays Pray Tell in 1980s-era ballroom drama Pose, will travel back to Europe for Milan and Paris fashion weeks after attending the Emmys this weekend 
  • Heralding his arrival to the fashion scene, a leading Vogue critic called Billy 'groundbreaking'  

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A mere 18 months ago, actor Billy Porter had never attended a runway show - but now, it can be argued that the Pose star is fashion with a capital F. 

The award-winning performer, 49, is the talk of the industry after wearing a total of 20 looks during the five-day London Fashion Week schedule - headgear, rhinestone platforms and ballgowns included. 

The Pennsylvania-born star, alongside his longtime stylist, is keen to promote the idea of 'gender-less high fashion' - one FROW at a time. 

Drama Honey! Actor Billy Porter, 49, cemented his status as a fashion chameleon as he debuted some 20 looks at London Fashion Week during five days - such as this Roksanda gown which he wore for her Spring/Summer showcase

Drama Honey! Actor Billy Porter, 49, cemented his status as a fashion chameleon as he debuted some 20 looks at London Fashion Week during five days - such as this Roksanda gown which he wore for her Spring/Summer showcase

Posing in pink: At the House of Holland show Billy donned a pink-hued blazer, left, adding flair with a feather fascinator, and for the JW Anderson show, he opted to wear a sleeveless trench coat by the designer, right
Posing in pink: At the House of Holland show Billy donned a pink-hued blazer, left, adding flair with a feather fascinator, and for the JW Anderson show, he opted to wear a sleeveless trench coat by the designer, right

Posing in pink: At the House of Holland show Billy donned a pink-hued blazer, left, adding flair with a feather fascinator, and for the JW Anderson show, he opted to wear a sleeveless trench coat by the designer, right 

Fashion duo: Billy attends the Halpern show with his stylist Sam Ratelle, as the Pose actor wears a silk yellow gown by the designer Michael Halpern

Fashion duo: Billy attends the Halpern show with his stylist Sam Ratelle, as the Pose actor wears a silk yellow gown by the designer Michael Halpern

Riding high on the success of FX's hit TV show Pose, in which Billy plays fierce ballroom MC Pray Tell, the actor is immersing himself in the world of fashion. 

While Billy has had a lengthy and successful career on Broadway, his turn in the spotlight on the silver screen has opened doors to work intimately with leading fashion designers. 

'He had been in theater for so long, and the fashion industry doesn't speak to those actors,' his stylist of eighteen months Sam Ratelle told British Vogue. 'If you're on Broadway, no one is keen on dressing you.'

After several groundbreaking red carpet moments - like his gilded Met Gala look by The Blonds and a showstopping tuxedo-cum-ballgown at the Oscars designed by Christian Siriano - the fashion world is finally beginning to pay attention to the inimitable star. 

Ergo, Billy and Sam decided to go all in for the Spring/Summer 2020 shows, ensuring the award-winning performer was on everyone's radar in all fashion capitals. 

For London Fashion Week, they packed an outrageous 12 suitcases for the 20 looks that the former Kinky Boots star would wear.

Unique: Billy stepped out at the Christopher Kane show in a pink and teal collarless coat dress by the designer, pictured left and right, styling it with a headpiece by milliner Sarah Sokol and patent boots by Gucci
Unique: Billy stepped out at the Christopher Kane show in a pink and teal collarless coat dress by the designer, pictured left and right, styling it with a headpiece by milliner Sarah Sokol and patent boots by Gucci

Unique: Billy stepped out at the Christopher Kane show in a pink and teal collarless coat dress by the designer, pictured left and right, styling it with a headpiece by milliner Sarah Sokol and patent boots by Gucci 

Ruffles: Billy served up ornate opulence in a red and black coat by Erdem for the designer's show, left, and also at Richard Quinn's runway presentation in a cape, right, by the young designer
Ruffles: Billy served up ornate opulence in a red and black coat by Erdem for the designer's show, left, and also at Richard Quinn's runway presentation in a cape, right, by the young designer

Ruffles: Billy served up ornate opulence in a red and black coat by Erdem for the designer's show, left, and also at Richard Quinn's runway presentation in a cape, right, by the young designer 

The category is domestic goddess! Billy 'poses' with a vacuum before the 'Billy Porter in conversation with Lindsay People Wagner' event during London Fashion Week

The category is domestic goddess! Billy 'poses' with a vacuum before the 'Billy Porter in conversation with Lindsay People Wagner' event during London Fashion Week 

After mingling with designers, asking questions back stage and taking a well-deserved seat FROW beside Anna Wintour, Billy would quickly change in green rooms, bathrooms and even cars ensuring he was ready to serve his next look in time. 

'It sounds very fabulous, but that's just show business,' laughed Sam.

Said looks included a voluminous ruffled orange gown by Roksanda Ilinic, a turquoise and black abstract-print cape by Richard Quinn, a yellow silk dress by Halpern and a baby pink satin frock by Christopher Kane. 

And of course, no shortage of accessories including diamante chokers, silk gloves, and shoes that likely warranted several extra baggage charges.

His favorite handbag - which is emblazoned with 'f**k you, pay me!' by the brand These Pink Lips also made several appearances. 

'No money, no honey sweeties,' Billy previously said when he wore the handbag for the inaugural time on social media.  

'We built momentum and created a buzz with emerging designers early on,' Sam said. 

Favorite accessory: Billy stepped out with his preferred statement handbag, which reads 'f**k you pay me', by These Pink Lips, styling it with both an outfit by Mannequin Concepts, left, and a sequin ensemble for the Ashish show, right
Favorite accessory: Billy stepped out with his preferred statement handbag, which reads 'f**k you pay me', by These Pink Lips, styling it with both an outfit by Mannequin Concepts, left, and a sequin ensemble for the Ashish show, right

Favorite accessory: Billy stepped out with his preferred statement handbag, which reads 'f**k you pay me', by These Pink Lips, styling it with both an outfit by Mannequin Concepts, left, and a sequin ensemble for the Ashish show, right 

Smizing! The star looked high fashion perfection at Roland Mouret's show in a sky blue waterfall jacket from the designer's Fall/Winter 2019 collection

Smizing! The star looked high fashion perfection at Roland Mouret's show in a sky blue waterfall jacket from the designer's Fall/Winter 2019 collection 

Suited and booted: Billy was dressed in a look from Victoria Beckham's eponymous label and Gucci shoes, left, and in a black suit by emerging designer Sharon Wauchob for her showcase, right
Suited and booted: Billy was dressed in a look from Victoria Beckham's eponymous label and Gucci shoes, left, and in a black suit by emerging designer Sharon Wauchob for her showcase, right

Suited and booted: Billy was dressed in a look from Victoria Beckham's eponymous label and Gucci shoes, left, and in a black suit by emerging designer Sharon Wauchob for her showcase, right 

'The next stage is to build relationships with the ateliers. From Victoria Beckham to Erdem, JW Anderson and Christopher Kane, the [London] designers have been so eager to meet Billy, and open and receptive to his looks. 

'Sometimes Billy hadn't heard of the brand, but he really wanted to learn and connect with each designer personally,' Sam added. 

'We create authenticity and drama,' he continued. 'Every time Billy goes to an event, there's a story to tell - and it's a political one. He's a man in a dress; someone's going to pay attention!' 

International publications have taken note too. 

The Guardian's fashion department said 'Billy Porter was the best thing to happen to London Fashion Week'. 

Paper Magazine commended him for 'serving up looks' while E! agreed that the star had 'made London his runway'.

And perhaps most notably, Vogue's critic Chioma Nnadi wrote, 'Since his groundbreaking turn in a tuxedo dress at the Oscars, the actor has shaken up the idea of red carpet dressing, bringing a sense of play and creative expression to Hollywood, where rules are rarely broken.'

VIPs: Billy takes his seat front row next to Vogue Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour at the JW Anderson show

VIPs: Billy takes his seat front row next to Vogue Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour at the JW Anderson show 

Saturday night fever: The performer went for a black and white flared jumpsuit by Mannequin Concepts, a 1970s-style fedora and a cropped fur jacket for his outing at the PREEN by Thornton Bregazzi show

Saturday night fever: The performer went for a black and white flared jumpsuit by Mannequin Concepts, a 1970s-style fedora and a cropped fur jacket for his outing at the PREEN by Thornton Bregazzi show 

On Instagram, Billy's outfits are routinely praised by major designers - like Marc Jacobs who routinely leaves heart-shaped emojis underneath his 'OOTD' shots - and fans alike. 

'Billy!!! You give me life watching your style,' read one recent comment.

'You are so amazing and iconic! I wanna be like you when I grow up,' said another fan while someone else expressed, 'I strive to be this level of grace'.

America's Next Top Model stars Miss Jay and Mr Jay both comment on his posts regularly. 

'That’s right... walk dammit,' said ANTM judge Jay Manuel on a slow-motion clip of Billy strutting down the street. 

As he stepped out for Naomi Campbells' star-studded Fashion For Relief runway show at the British Museum in Bloomsbury, Billy's outfit certainly commanded attention. 

Not one to blend in, he opted for a custom-created black feathered bomber jacket by Adrian Manceras and a matching fascinator with plumes by iconic milliner Stephen Jones.

He teamed the statement pieces with leather trousers and an asymmetrical dress, and a bejeweled collar by Brooklyn-based jewelry designer Alexis Bittar for good measure. 

Flocking fabulous! It was feathers and more feathers for Billy's appearance at Naomi Campbell's high profile Fashion For Relief event

Flocking fabulous! It was feathers and more feathers for Billy's appearance at Naomi Campbell's high profile Fashion For Relief event

Before Billy jetted to London, he gave the New York fashion crowd a taste of his magic when he performed on stage at the fabulously theatrical The Blonds x Moulin Rouge! The Musical show. 

Stage legend: Guests at The Blonds x Moulin Rouge! The Musical show during New York Fashion Week were treated to a surprise performance from the theater star

Stage legend: Guests at The Blonds x Moulin Rouge! The Musical show during New York Fashion Week were treated to a surprise performance from the theater star 

Clad in a sequin white and gold catsuit and floor-length jacket (and a crown, naturally), Billy performed Love Yourself and Lady Marmalade at the Al Hirschfeld Theater to an awe-struck audience.

Ironically, it's the same stage that Billy performed on during his star turn as Lola in Kinky Boots - for which he won a Tony Award in 2013. 

'It’s all so full circle and fabulous,' he said on Instagram. As he thanked The Blonds' design duo Phillippe and David for their 'kindness and vision', he expressed his delight at the fusion of fashion and theater.   

'It’s about time we merge our worlds together. Fashion is theater and theater is fashion,' he said. 

Speaking to W Magazine recently, Billy admitted he never felt accepted by the fashion world until now. 

'I wasn't embraced before, but I'm embraced now and that's all that matters.'

According to his stylist Sam, he will return to the U.S. for this weekend's Emmy Awards before jetting back to Europe to see out Milan and Paris fashion weeks. 

No word, as of yet, how many suitcases they'll be bringing this time around.  

The category is…gender-less style realness! Billy Porter is the breakout star of fashion month

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