Last night was the biggest night on Broadway: the annual Tony Awards! Co-hosted by Alan Cumming and Kristin Chenoweth, the ceremony was surprisingly bland, as – for the most part – were the red carpet fashions. But there were a few looks worth mentioning. Just for a change of pace, I’m breaking them into categories by guests, attendees, presenters, nominees, and winners.
As the non-celebrity spouse or guest of a celebrity, it can’t be easy to walk that fine line between dressing well enough to not look out of place but not well enough to overshadow the star (or to look like you’re trying too hard to join the celebrity ranks). Several spouses did a particularly fine job of treading that line last night.
Robin Dearden, on the arm of a beautifully tuxedoed Bryan Cranston, chose a long, Asian-inspired black column with silver and blue patterning, sheer sleeves, and thigh-high side slits, paired with sparkly chandelier earrings and matching clutch. Flattering, interesting, and nicely accessorized, this look hit just the right notes.
Daena Title, on the arm of Jason Alexander, wowed in this soft gray and silver off-the-shoulder gown echoing her stylish hair, accessorized with a black lace wrap and fabulous silver sandals. The color, cut, and accessories are simple but lovely and flowy. A perfect way to go Bohemian chic.
Vanessa Hudgens’ huge poppy print halter gown with full skirt, paired with a feminine braided coronet hairstyle and coordinating lip color, was fresh and flattering. A lovely youthful yet mature look.
I loved Emily Ratajkowski’s deep blue gown. The broad criss-cross of the bodice is sexy but not overly revealing, the gathered lines at the waist soften the straight silhouette, and the detailing along the side seams is absolutely gorgeous. Unfortunately, the belt is sitting about an inch lower than it should be, and the straight skirt should be skimming the floor, not puddling on it.
Amber Valletta’s look was unusual and chic. I loved the starkness of the short sheath paired with softness of the long, angled side drape. My only objection is that the bodice is cut so low that it looks like it’s about to slip off, and the buckle right at the point of her bust draws attention to an odd spot.
Nicole Warne’s ice blue, ballet-inspired gown featured gorgeous lace and beading at the waist and down the tulle skirt, and the bodice was beautifully fitted, but the long sleeves and high neck are a bit too prissy for the overall look. Perhaps a bit of beading at the neck or a neckline with a bit more visual interest could have turned this “nice” look into a terrific look.
Presenters, generally past Tony winners, also have to walk the fine line of presenting themselves well without overshadowing the winners to whom they are presenting.
Host Kristin Chenoweth wore this clingy silver column on the red carpet, but then proceeded to have about a dozen costume changes over the course of the evening. I liked this column with the exception of the overplumped look of her cleavage. It flatters her curves and is well-proportioned to her tiny frame, although I would have loved to see a tiny pop of color in a bit of jewelry, such as a cuff bracelet or a short necklace. But my favorite look of the evening on her was the deep red bias-cut satin gown she wore towards the end of the broadcast. I loved the “corkscrew” look carried out from the shoulder strap, through the gathers on the bodice, the seaming across the hip, and the drape around the skirt. Her hair was a complete disaster but the gown was stunning.
Presenter Rose Byrne’s scarlet gown had a lovely silhouette and interesting draped shoulder details, but the lines of the open bodice looked a bit droopy. If only that zipper had gone up another 6 or 8 inches, this gown would have been stunning.
At first glance, I found Sutton Foster’s gown to be a bit casual, due to the soft fabric. But the warm chocolate color of the bodice fading in graceful ripples into peachy-pink at the full hem grew on me, particularly when I saw how beautifully it moved. And it suits her personality, which always makes a dress come to life, for me.
Presenting as a team with her father, the legendary Joel Grey, Jennifer Grey’s white column kept its details limited to the texture, with rich lace cascading into subtle eyelash fuzz from the knees to the hem. Paired with natural makeup and simple beach waves in her sun-kissed hair, she looked classic and elegant.
Showing how NOT to do a lacy white gown, Kiesza’s white disaster overused textures, looking torn and papery and disproportionate and just a general mess, and her exaggerated cats-eye eyeliner and asymmetrical curly updo did not work with it at all. At least she seemed delighted with her look.
Presenter Jennifer Lopez is a good example of how important the fit of a gown is. The lines, color, fabric, and detailing of this midnight-blue gown with gold sparkling stars are all absolutely stunning, but the bodice looks uncomfortably stiff and tight and ruins the effect. But points for the dark lipstick, retro hairstyle, and diamond bracelet.
Bernadette Peters was yet another argument for the importance of good fit. You can’t stuff 10 pounds of sugar into a 5-pound bag, or you get all those crinkles across your midsection. Few people other than Bernadette could have pulled off this unusual color, and if the gown had been just a bit less cinched, it could have been one of the best looks of the night.
Presenter Phylicia Rashad also chose a flattering color for her, in an iridescent deep blue-purple gown and matching long jacket. The flared cuffs were a bit too full for my taste, but I loved the sapphire choker. A flattering and elegant look for an older star.
Presenter Amanda Seyfried opted for a short dress rather than a gown, in a pretty black and metallic gold print. I liked the dress, but its stark cut and color needed softer hair and makeup to offset it and dress it up a bit. The severity of the look aged her.
The concept of Ashley Tisdale’s look was great: A structured avant garde flared halter paired with full pants. Unfortunately, the halter was too stiff to be flattering, the pleats in the pants didn’t fall right, creating odd lines as she moved, the high waist looked old-mannish – and paired with the mere peep of midsection, looked like a mistake.
I loved a lot of the individual details of Rita Wilson’s dress, but there were just too many and too much. Too shiny fabric, too wavy lines, too deep cutouts. Making it into a sleeveless halter would remove much of the “overdoneness” and could have turned it into a stunner.
Jennifer Nettles’ champagne-colored, Grecian-styled gown had just enough unexpected details to keep it from being bland, including an asymmetrical angled bodice and an eye-catching brooch on the strap. Chandelier earrings, a delicate diamond bracelet, and a high-fronted updo completed her elegant look. \
Best Actress in a Musical nominee Leanne Cope wore one of my favorite looks of the evening, this stunning silvery-gray, fitted to the hip, flared, tea-length halter. The bare shoulders and clean lines show off her perfect skin and dramatic coloring. I love her simple hairstyle and clean makeup. She’d look great wearing a burlap sack, but this gown won the evening.
Best Featured Actress in a Musical nominee Victoria Clark wore a lovely midnight blue gown, with a fitted bodice with lacy cutouts and a gauzy full skirt which moved beautifully. A great dramatic look.
Ten-year-old Best Featured Actress nominee Sydney Lucas looked grown up yet age-appropriate in a lovely tea-length white textured gown paired with gold ballet flats, a flippy bob, and the world’s happiest smile. What a delight she was, both performing on stage and beaming on the red carpet.
Best Featured Actress in a Play nominee Patricia Clarkson let the gorgeous fabric itself be the star of her tea-length, A-line gown with simple round neckline didn’t need any accessories other than the matching clutch (which she was obviously delighted about) and red lipstick. A prime example of less is more.
Best Actress in a Play nominee Elisabeth Moss looked spectacular in a snow-white halter dress with bright flowers cascading from the bodice. Clean lines and a perfect fit made for a perfect look.
Fellow Best Actress in a Play nominee Ruth Wilson wore a vivid magenta gown with a tightly-fitted, T-shirt-styled top, flaring low at the hips into a full skirt. The bodice was too simple and unadorned – perhaps a v-neck or even a long pendant could have broken it up – and the clashing shade of lipstick just didn’t work for me.
Yet another Best Actress in a Play nominee, Carey Mulligan, dealt with the difficulties of finding maternity red carpet wear. This burgundy gown, with its pretty, arched neckline and smooth but loose-fitting cascade over her baby bump, adorned only by a stack of bangle bracelets, looked comfortable and stylish.
Annaleigh Ashford took home the Tony for Best Actress in a Play wearing this lime green gown with a tightly-fitted bodice with a sweetheart neckline and a puffed skirt. Her minimal accessories and makeup and simple hairstyle of cascading curls turned what could have been an overdone look into an eye-catching and flattering win.
As always, Best Leading Actress in a Play winner Helen Mirren stunned in this long, clinging white gown with short train and lovely lace detailing at the deep V neckline and waist and in the draped sleeves. Smooth sleek hair and subtle makeup completed her elegant look. There truly is nothing like a Dame.
And finally, Best Actress in a Musical winner, Kelli O’Hara, looked beautiful in a tea-length gold lace dress paired with long waved hair, minimal makeup, and strappy sandals, which she used to “shuffle off to Buffalo” at the end of her acceptance speech. Utterly delightful all around.
So maybe there weren’t many stunners or stinkers on the red carpet at this year’s Tonys, but there were lots of smiles and plenty of talent. Extra bonus points to the producers for having all the casts who performed join Josh Groban and the orchestra on stage for the end of the In Memoriam segment. That was my favorite moment of the entire broadcast, and I hope it becomes a tradition for future Tonys!