Olly Alexander wanted to feel like his ‘most powerful gay self’ for iconic BRIT Awards performance

Patrick Kelleher May 12, 2021
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Elton John and Olly Alexander

Elton John and Olly Alexander during The BRIT Awards 2021 at The O2 Arena. (JMEnternational/JMEnternational for BRIT Awards/Getty)

Olly Alexander felt like his “most powerful gay self” wearing a crop top and flared trouser combo for his iconic BRIT Awards performance with Elton John.

The Years & Years star took to the stage at London’s O2 on Tuesday evening (11 May) to deliver a gloriously queer rendition of Pet Shop Boys’ 1987 hit “It’s a Sin”.

The empowering performance kicked off with Olly Alexander lying on a grand piano wearing a black lace outfit complete with a crop top and a velvet cape.

Speaking to British Vogue, Alexander said he jumped at the chance to perform the classic song when John approached him for a collaboration – and he was determined to make it as queer as possible.

The singer said the song “really highlights the gay experience” and the television series of the same name started a national conversation around queer history.

He went on to explain that the concept for the performance, which saw dancers from the Theo Adams Company join him on stage, was “liberation and queer spirit”.

Black lace outfit made Olly Alexander feel ‘strong and sexy’

To help bring that concept to life, Alexander sought a suitably queer outfit from Harris Reed, an American-British queer designer.

Speaking about the outfit, Olly Alexander explained: “It’s a two-piece, with a halter-style crop top and trousers that flare at the bottom.” The outfit is made up of “black lace with crystal details”, he added.

“It’s skin-tight, but also stretchy so I can move. I’m wearing it with creepers. I just can’t go out on stage without a creeper! And I’m wearing a very large velvet cape.”

He continued: “I really wanted glamour and to feel really powerful in the look, and I definitely do. I feel like my most powerful gay self.

“I wanted something that would make me feel really strong and sexy, but that was also beautiful and fluid – and that’s what Harris’s work is for me.”

BRIT Awards viewers were blown away by Alexander and John’s rendition of “It’s a Sin”, with many heaping praise on them for putting queerness front and centre at the awards ceremony.

The pair have also released their duet on streaming platforms, with proceeds going to the Elton John AIDS Foundation.

Related topics: Olly Alexander

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