Monday, June 10, 2013

2013 Tony Awards Red Carpet Fashion

This year’s Tony Awards ceremony covered the spectrum from the sublime (Neil Patrick Harris’ stunning opening number) to the ridiculous (Mike Tyson’s cameo in said opening number). NPH as host is always a home run, and the ceremony itself ran relatively smoothly, despite a few teleprompter issues and one notable microphone glitch, so on the whole I’d say it was a very successful evening. The fashions were relatively subdued and uninspired, but there were a few notable hits and misses.

Interestingly, the most remarkable fashions of the night were not on the red carpet, but on stage as part of the performances: Cinderella and her fairy godmother both wore gowns that magically transformed from rags into full ball gowns complete with tiaras (well, in the case of the fairy godmother, silver lamé antennae). If you missed seeing that number live, it’s well worth watching:

The stars’ fashions were lackluster enough that I can’t even come up with enough candidates to put them into categories, so I’ll just take them in alphabetical order.

Laura Benanti wore a cobalt blue, Grecian-inspired dress with a plunging neckline held in place with two satin ribbons. This dress is a lovely example of how a gown can show a lot of skin yet still be tasteful. The strategically-placed ribbons assured viewers that Ms. Benanti was not likely to suffer a wardrobe malfunction, and her cascading wavy hair covered enough of her shoulders to avoid a “too bare” look. Her natural, subtle makeup was a nice balance to the strong color of the gown.
Lilla Crawford, star of the current revival of “Annie,” hit the perfect balance of elegant and age-appropriate. It’s not so frilly as to be a child’s party frock, but the full skirt and waves of sequins make it youthful and festive, while the black and silver theme and the grown-up updo with just a few wavy tendrils keep it formal and classy. Points to both her mom and her stylist for coming up with this great look.
Sally Field also hits the balance of elegant and age-appropriate in a deep green column with a softly draped bodice. A pop of another color in her clutch or shoes might have been a nice touch, but the ensemble as is is flattering and understated.
Megan Hilty’s gown followed the recent trend of having a see-through maxi skirt over a shorter skirt. I’m not a fan of the look in general, but the zig-zag hem of her underskirt and the beading at the bottom of the train made this look more successful than many similar styles. Her updo could have been a bit softer and more relaxed, but with that gorgeous smile and va-va-voom curves, she’d have looked stunning in a burlap sack.
At first glance, I loved Jane Krakowski’s gown, but it lost points under closer scrutiny. Jane has a rather straight figure that is not always flattered by traditional red carpet dresses. She generally chooses styles that work well for her, however, and the silhouette of this dress is no exception. The deep, narrow V-neck and slim silver belt create the illusion of curves, and the clingy fabric emphasizes her overall slenderness. But the random patches of missing sequins made it look like her dress had had accidentally gone through the washer instead of being dry-cleaned. (It’s only fair to add that my husband agreed with my assessment of the dress – until she turned around to reveal the large triangle-shaped cutout at the back, at which point he gave it an automatic 10.)
Cyndi Lauper’s outfit was…well, let’s call it “true to herself.” I actually liked the tailored cropped pants with the front slits, especially with the fabulous strappy silver heels, but the black lace granny shrug aged her unnecessarily – particularly since her face hasn’t aged a day since 1983.
Judith Light’s gown looked lovely when she was standing still to pose for photos. But she fell victim to the all-too-common red carpet trap of not checking how the gown looks when you move in it. Despite her slim figure, she had bulges of flesh peeping through the under-arm cutouts while giving her acceptance speech, and there was something very unflattering going on around her neck and throat that I found extremely distracting.
Pam MacKinnon (winner for Best Direction of a Play) also fell victim to the movement trap. Her dress fit her poorly, with the high square shoulders riding up like football pads whenever she moved her arms, and a too-tight bodice squishing her chest. But then, when your best accessory is a shiny new Tony Award, you can get away with a lot.
Andrea Martin is another actress who, like Sally Field, knows how to dress a slender but older figure well. Her black satin sheath with just a touch of lace at the neck was simple, elegant, and flattering. She’s not a fussy, girly-girl type, and this dress managed to be both feminine and well-suited to her personality and style.
Patina Miller’s flowing watercolor-print dress was by far my favorite of the night. I loved the gathering at the waistline that created a faux “bow” that sat snugly against her body, the subtle deepening of color from neckline to floor, and the handkerchief-style hem. The style both softened and flattered her muscular frame.
Presenter Martha Plimpton’s scarlet sheath with just a hint of train draped beautifully on her figure. The see-through panel at the top with lace embellishments was just enough to stop it from being boring, although I wish the panels hadn’t run quite so far down the sides of the dress. Side-boob is rarely a good look even in a cutting-edge couture gown, but in a simpler dress like this it merely looks like a mistake.
Condola Rashad is one of the most gorgeous women I have ever seen, so she could have worn anything and would still have looked stunning, but her deep plum princess-seamed gown with trumpet hem and sweetheart neckline made her look even more stunning. And as for having perfect accessories, the matching gemstone necklace was second only to having her proud (and equally well-dressed) Daddy on her arm.
Finally, here is proof that certain women can get away with wearing just about anything. Cicely Tyson’s gown was a gorgeous royal purple that made her perfect skin absolutely glow in such a way that you hardly noticed the pointy-ruffled monstrosity she was wearing. But when you’ve been performing on Broadway for 54 years and you finally get your first Tony nomination at age 79, you get to wear whatever you want.

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