Monday, June 13, 2016

Red Carpet Review: The 2016 Tony Awards

Very often I write my red carpet fashion reviews based strictly on photographs, having either missed the awards in their entirety or at least missed the red carpet portion. However, I tuned in to the live stream red carpet coverage at 5:30 and faithfully watched (except when the feed was glitchy) all the way until the actual ceremony began at 8:00. So my critiques this time are based not only on how these gowns looked in these photographs, but how they looked as their wearers walked and moved.

I'll admit that I was somewhat disappointed by the general array of gowns. Yes, there were a few that were lovely, but there were more that were missteps. I'm going to rate them as purely thumbs up or thumbs down.

Laura Benanti: Thumbs Down
First of all, I hated the fabric of this dress. I felt like I should like the color combination, but somehow the background pinky-purple was just too vibrant. The silhouette wasn't terrible, but the starkness of the high round neckline and lack of sleeve shape or detail was overly bland. I did like the flare of the skirt, but it wasn't enough to save this look.

Judith Light: Thumbs Down
The idea of the bodice wasn't bad, and if the see-through fabric had been a bit less loose and wrinkled, it could have been very pretty. I really liked the wrapped fabric pulled into a silver detail at the waist. The wide-legged tux pants were too high-waisted to be flattering, and the overly pointed shoes made Light's legs look even more disproportionate. Points for the scarlet clutch, though.

Laurie Metcalf: Thumbs Down
The turquoise skirt was rather pretty - a lovely color, and a nice, crisp silhouette. Even paired with a white V-necked top, it might have been passable. But adding the droopy, winglike capelet gave Metcalf a hunched, matronly look. There's no reason that Metcalf couldn't pull off something much more traditional and less dowdy with her age and figure.

Jane Krakowski: Thumbs Up
Although I didn't love Krakowski's dress, given the field of other gowns, I had to give it a thumbs up. She has a slender but very straight figure, and unfortunately tends to wear dresses that don't completely flatter her figure. The broad V-neck of this gown draws the eye in nicely, but she needed a tiny little belt or solid-color inset panels to create a narrower waist. The flared skirt and tiny train did help to create a more curvy visual silhouette, however.

Lupita Nyong'o: Thumbs Up

I loved both the fabric and the cut of this gown. Nyong'o has worn similar silhouettes in the past, and they flatter her figure perfectly. The straight-across line of the shoulders was softened by the patterned fabric and the curves of the clinging gown, as well as the softly draped train. A beautiful look for her.

Lucy Liu: Thumbs Up

Yellow was a popular color at the Tonys (and unfortunately, seemed to be rather difficult to photograph, as evidenced by this and several other photos). Liu pulled it off best. Not many women are flattered by such a plunging neckline, but her slight figure, tiny waist, and small bust gave a curvy look without a sense that double-sided tape was working overtime. The softness of the chiffon skirt, especially when lifted by the breeze that was very much in evidence on the red carpet, created a lovely, graceful line.

Diane Lane: Thumbs Down
Oh, Diane. A pantsuit? A ZEBRA PRINT pantsuit? Unless you are Angela Lansbury or Bea Arthur, a lady should never wear pants to the Tony Awards. And even if you ARE Angela Lansbury or Bea Arthur, you should never wear zebra print pants.

Bebe Neuwirth: Thumbs Up (barely)
The line of this gown was exquisite, and perfect for Neuwirth's slim, petite, athletic figure. The crinkled bodice, mermaid skirt, and textured train added visual interest to the simple cut. The only thing I disliked about it was that the color was so close to her skin tone that it blended in. But overall, a lovely look.

Cate Blanchett: Not just Thumbs Down but WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?!??
Wha...I'm not even sure what to say here. It was like there was a funky black leather dress, a sparkly black-and-white retro cocktail dress, and a full flared black-and-white color block gown, and someone took bits of each of them and stitched them together. It became a Frankendress Monster. I have often said in the past that Cate Blanchett can look great in anything, but she proved me wrong.

Jourdan Dunn: Thumbs Up
This gown made my seamstress heart happy. It was so perfectly constructed, with lovely arched seaming across the bodice, which was perfectly fitted to Dunn's figure. The folds of the drape fell perfectly, with just a hair of silver lining (literally!) peeping out, and a generous train spreading out behind. The fact that the difficult fabric had not a wrinkle added to its perfection. Stunning.

Claire Danes: Thumbs Up
I'm a sucker for bias-cut silk. Danes' lovely 1930s-inspired gown had just enough textured panels to prevent it from being boring, and her perfect figure lends itself beautiful to the unforgiving cling of silk, even with a broad v-neck and a narrow skirt with a flared train. The deep navy blue caught the light beautifully as she moved. It was unfortunate that her hair suffered from the wind, but in that dress, no-one was looking at her hair.

Glenn Close: Thumbs Up
Close's long, straight dress with a long slit and deep v (with modest inset) was flattering and age-appropriate. I liked the gathering at the waist and the detail of the inset bow (although pink was not the best color choice; I'd have gone with black or white), Her makeup was fresh and flattering, and I liked her fluffed-up hair. A very nice look.

Mary Elizabeth Winstead: Thumbs Up
Winstead's gown looks somewhat bland in this photograph, but what you can't see very well is that it was encrusted with thousands of colored gems that caught the light, glittering and sparkling as she moved. The lighter-colored bodice looked less see-through; instead, it had a kind of "smoky" effect that was very pretty. The colors of the gems brought the whole dress to life, and the simple neckline and A-line skirt didn't compete with the sparkle. Nicely balanced.

Allison Williams: Thumbs Down
As noted before, I'm not a fan of pants worn to red carpet events, but I might have given this outfit a pass if it were strictly a woman-cut white tuxedo. Unfortunately, the right pantleg appeared to have morphed into either a very long cape or drape, or else it was simply cut twice as wide as the left and then pressed into a razor crease. Either way, it threw off the balance of the look. And what's with the strap on that clutch bag? Is it secretly a shield? If you wear a masculine style of clothes, balance them with feminine accessories. Not a shield.

Saycon Sengbloh - Thumbs Up
Sengbloh was one of three actresses from the cast of Eclipsed who appeared together on the red carpet. Each had her own unique style, and each looked lovely. Sengbloh's striking one-shouldered emerald satin gown wrapped her curves gracefully, smoothing and emphasizing in all the right places. The wind showed an unexpected pop of vivid scarlet in the lining of the dress, as well as Sengbloh's pretty metallic sandals. Those, along with her glowing smile, were all the accents she needed.

Saoirse Ronan: Thumbs Down
Much like Bebe Neuwirth's gown, the biggest flaw in Ronan's gown was its color. Unfortunately, it didn't have enough other positives to bump it into the Thumbs Up category. I did like the flare at the knee, but the wrapped bodice with front peekaboo flatters a narrow waist, not just a muscular one (Ronan has about 0.1% body fat), and the broadly-spaced shoulder straps emphasize her broad, square shoulders rather than softening them. Lovely girl, lovely gown; bad combination.

Phillipa Soo: Thumbs Up
I found the fabric of Soo's dress to be simply lovely: pure white with silver patterns in beading running from one shoulder strap, trailing down the bodice, and then spreading out on either side of the high slit. In contrast to Ronan, above, Soo's widely-spaced straps were balanced by the off-the-shoulder sleeves (perhaps "bands" might be a better description), and by her narrower waist, creating a curvier, more well-proportioned silhouette. The wind also worked in Soo's favor, revealing her slender legs (and strappy sandals) and creating a long, barely ruffled train behind her. A simple but elegant look.

Jennifer Simard: Thumbs Up
I loved the simple lines of Simard's dress. The striking color, the graceful seaming in the bodice, the broad A-line of the skirt, and the heavy beading along the neck created just enough balanced details to be simple yet interesting. The soft updo and natural makeup added the perfect finish to this elegant and unfussy look.

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