Billy Porter Cat-Walks His Way Through Hudson Yards

The actor and star of “Pose” goes shopping without gender boundaries at Forty Five Ten.

Aaron Hicklin
4 min readJul 2, 2019


Billy Porter wanted to go clothes shopping. “I’ll meet you in front of the beehive thing…?” he texted on a bright Friday afternoon when New York had the jaunty air of summer hours.

The “beehive thing is” the 15-story structure by Thomas Heatherwick that stands amid the glinting cliffs of Hudson Yards. Mr. Porter had visited on opening night, and was keen to explore Forty Five Ten, a fashion boutique based in Dallas that has been described by Business of Fashion as the “millennial generation’s answer to Barneys.”

Standing beneath Mr. Heatherwick’s creation an hour later, Mr. Porter frowned at the zigzag of stairs. “It looks very Star Trek,” he said. He was wearing a white shirt with a deconstructed collar by Trina Turk and a pair of black Commes des Garçons pants decorated with red and white horizontal stripes that fell just below the knee.

“I don’t know what you call them — culottes or drop-crotch,” he said, as he walked into the shopping center to a chorus of cheers from passing fans.

There were, it seemed, a lot of them. By the escalator, a dapper gentleman with oversize sunglasses and a crescent moon mustache introduced himself as Percy. A pin on his jacket identified him as an employee of Related, the real estate firm behind Hudson Yards. “Mr. Billy Porter, you looked marvelous during that gala, let me tell you, and welcome to Hudson Yards,” he said.

The gala he was referring to was the Met Gala, for which Mr. Porter, 49, had arrived dressed in a 24-karat gold headpiece and borne aloft by six shirtless men in gold pants. As with his Academy Awards appearance in February, for which he wore a modest Christian Siriano tuxedo dress, his Met Gala moment had gone viral.

“I’ve been set free in a way I never knew I needed to be,” Mr. Porter said, as he paid for an iced coffee from Blue Bottle. “Who knew that would happen through fashion?” He flung his arm in the direction of a giant Dior ad featuring Jennifer Lawrence. “I need to be sitting on a bench for Dior,” he said. “High end.” He accentuated the words “High end” like verbal jabs.

Sweeping on toward the escalator, he added, “If she can do it, so can I.”



Aaron Hicklin

Since moving to the U.S. in 1998, Aaron Hicklin has been editor of BlackBook, Out, and Document, and writes for The Guardian and The NYT, among others.