The category: owning the Tonys red carpet... and Billy Porter takes the prize! Celestino was approached by Porter’s stylist, Sam Ratelle of RRR Creative, just weeks before the highly anticipated awards show with a project fit only for a stage of such grandeur - Radio City Music Hall. Ratelle reached out to Celestino with a vision of having a full look made from the Kinky Boots’ red velvet curtain, the very curtain from which Porter emerged over 1,000 times in his Tony-winning performance.
The custom couture, gender-fluid evening suit featured an extravagant train embellished with 30,000 Swarovski crystals. These stones were meticulously hand stitched over embroidered floral appliqués which were placed in the shape of a uterus. Porter regularly describes himself as being an advocate for all that are disenfranchised. This mission aligns perfectly with Celestino’s passion for producing garments with powerful messages. The Broadway star and couture house joined forces to conceptualize a show-stopping gown with a strong statement about women’s reproductive rights. After a stunning 900 combined hours worked in the atelier with a team of FIT student interns, the handmade couture gown graced the red carpet and the Radio City stage June 9, 2019.
Billy Porter has had a long and very successful career on Broadway. He currently stars in the FX show Pose, and has broadened the scope of his public presence through his bold fashion statements. Frequently referred to as a fashion icon, Porter and his team at RRR Creative knew that his return to the Tonys stage as a presenter wearing the curtain-turned-couture would be nothing short of nostalgic, meaningful and momentous.
Celestino was first introduced to Porter and his outstanding team before the 2019 Peabody Awards, as Ratelle pulled a couture gown for Porter to wear at the event. Since their introduction, the two parties have cultivated a warm relationship based on representation in and through fashion.