Monday, June 9, 2014

Red Carpet Review: The 2014 Tony Awards

The Tony Awards aren't usually the same sartorial explosion as, say, the Oscars, but there are generally a few noteworthy or at least interesting gowns. I'm going to jump right in with a critique of the gowns that stood out to me, for good or for ill. In no particular order:

Fran Drescher has always had a striking sense of not only what is fashionable, but what is flattering on her. This multi-shaded orange gown hugged her amazing figure and made just the right amount of splash. I loved that some of the fabric had a sparkly finish and some was matte. This girl knows how to walk the fine line between tacky and elegant, and she fell nicely on the side of elegant here. 

Vera Famiga was a fashion flop in this dull black column. The geometric details at the shoulders and hips were flattering, but they weren't enough to relieve the unrelenting boredom of the dull black. Boring neckline, zero sleeve details, somehow managing to be shapeless even while snugly fitting her curves, even the train somehow seemed lifeless. Perhaps it could have been saved with a better hairstyle or some flashier accessories.

Sutton Foster's gown was an example of how simplicity CAN work. Every detail, including the bold color, full skirt, slim belt, criss-crossed bodice, matching gold cuff and clutch, and smooth updo, set off her feminine but muscular figure. Very eye-catching!

The silhouette and fabric of Anna Gunn's dress really worked for me. The shiny-backed brocade and princess seams had a nice vintage look, and the long hem trailed into a graceful puddle. But the overblown, oversized crystals at the neck seemed to match neither the scale nor the style of the rest of the look, and her limp updo seemed like an afterthought.

Maggie Gyllenhaal is a beautiful woman, but she (or her stylist) has no idea how to dress herself in a flattering way. She consistently attempts to wear unusual styles but just can't pull them off. This feathered monstrosity might possibly have worked on a more petite, more curvy figure, but on her tall slender body, it looks like she got herself tarred and feathered. And then stapled on some extra feathers at the hem for good measure. And I won't even talk about her hairstyle, other than to wonder if it was done with an egg beater. Her light, natural makeup is lovely, at least. 

Adriane Lenox started off with a pretty terrific but unusual look. The structured, vivid orange coatdress with matching belt over what seemed to be either a romper or a pair of white shorts was striking and intriguing. The clunky shoes were a bit of a misstep, but it was the hat that threw the whole shebang completely off the rails. Was it a gourd wearing a crocheted tea cozy? Was it a 1970s fringed lampshade? It was a hot mess, whatever it was. More emphasis on "mess" than "hot."

Lucy Liu's black and white gown with plunging decolletage and asymmetrical bubble skirt had a beautiful line that managed to not overwhelm her tiny size. Her tall, bouffant-style hair balanced the width of the dress with a bit of added height. And the simple black sandals and diamond choker were lovely, proportional accents. 

Kate Mara seemed to be channeling the worst of the 1980s in this dress. The mix of black and silver was striking and interesting, but the giant squared-off shoulders and puffy texture of the fabric made her look like she was wearing a formal parka. The slicked-back hairstyle did nothing to improve her her look, nor did the severe eye makeup and the vaguely pained grimace (although that may have at least been evidence that she knew this was not a good look for her). 

Audra McDonald's huge poppy print dress was surprisingly successful. Her long, wavy 'do and chunky bracelet and ring balanced the large lines of the gown beautifully, and the coral lips perfectly matched to the gown were a nice touch. Oh, and that SIXTH Tony statuette she toted home was a pretty sweet accessory, too. 

Presenter Leighton Meester fell victim to the overly simple gown trap, as well. If her simple white column had been made of a more flowing fabric, or had an contrasting detail at the hip, or had a more interesting neckline, it could have worked. But as it was, it looked a bit too much like she grabbed a bedsheet on the way out the door.

The gorgeous iridescent color of the fabric in Idina Menzel's gown would have had me in love with anything made out of it, but the style of this gown would also have been fabulous in almost any different color and fabric. The angled, flared shoulder straps; the soft ruching along the diamond-shaped center panel; the soft, not-quite bow draped across the bodice; the swirling mermaid flare at the hem - I loved it all. The soft, shiny hair, nude lips, and barely-blingy earrings and clutch were the icing on the cake.

Kelli O'Hara did slightly better than many in the category of simple gowns. The champagne color worked well with her complexion and golden blond hair, the softly draped lines flattered her figure without being too va-va-voom, and the halter provided cleavage but support. Not one of the more memorable looks of the night, but certainly elegant, lovely, and flattering.

Anika Noni Rose did well with a less traditional style. Her one-shouldered, belted, chiffon animal print had a slit up to there showing off nicely toned gams. Her choice of minimal accessories and simple hair and makeup was a wise one. 

Emmy Rossum's sleek silver gown was one of my favorites of the night. The woven detailing of the bodice created the flattering silhouette of a corset without looking as restrictive, and the center front braid leading down into a soft, ruffly slit that moved beautifully softened the entire look, blending sleekness and movement flawlessly. Her dark hair and barely-there lip color were lovely contrasts to the sleek silver, particularly against her gorgeous alabaster skin.

And because it just seems right, I'd like to end with one of the technical awards that was presented earlier and not included as part of the Tony broadcast: Linda Cho, who won Best Costume Design of a Musical, for A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder.
I'm not sure if she designed her own gown or not, but it was so terrific that she deserves credit for it (as well as for the beautiful costumes for which she won the award). The soft curve of the top of the bodice echoed in the gently curved side panels, the flowered hem details echoing the bodice flower, the bright purple shoes, and the sheen of the apple green fabric all worked together to make this gown as much of a winner as its wearer.

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