Tuesday, June 13, 2017

2017 Tony Awards: Red Carpet Review

Sadly, the red carpet for the Tony awards gets much less coverage that most red carpet events.  I'm not sure why, because most theatrical performers are, not surprisingly, dramatic.  And we all love to dress up at the drop of a hat.  Yet I struggled to find a complete collection of red carpet photographs from last night's Tonys.  However, I did find photos of enough interesting looks to put together a review.  Here goes!

Kate Baldwin's one-shouldered cobalt blue satin wrap gown was stunning, particularly with her beautiful red bob and peaches-and-cream complexion.  The fabric was a bit wrinkled, but that almost worked into the intriguing seaming, and the tailoring was excellent. I loved the slight puffiness of the short train, which lent it some nice structure.  The cut was simple with just enough interesting details to be striking. A really lovely look.

I loved the fabric of Amanza Smith Brown's gown, with its embroidered red flowers on a white chiffon background.  I loved the way the A-line skirt flared softly and I liked the three white bands around the waist, but the bodice was not shaped correctly and looked very uncomfortable as well as overly revealing.  A slightly narrower V in the bodice and this look would have knocked it out of the park.

I wasn't sure if I liked Glenn Close's gown when I saw her sitting down, but I really liked it in full view.  I thought the patterning of the fabric was interesting and graceful, and almost slightly geometric.  The squared neckline was flattering, as was the slit in the wrapped skirt, both of which allowed some skin to show but in a restrained and classy way.  The styling was age appropriate without being matronly.  And the silvery blue color was stunning with Close's close-cropped silver hair, which set off those incredible cheekbones and intense eyes. A beautiful and elegant look.

Jenn Colella's dramatic black and white ensemble was one of the most striking looks of the evening, and one of my personal favorites.  Her slim black skirt was topped with a structured white bodice and full cutaway front overlay skirt.  The sharp diagonal angles of the neckline were balanced beautifully by the soft draping at the waist, and the tiny pops of bright red in her bag and lipstick were the perfect accents. She would have looked right at home on a Paris runway.

I liked Tina Fey's dress at a distance better than close up.  The fringe at the bottom of her openwork sheath dress worked for me, creating a subtle, textured flare, but the bits of eyelash fabric on the main body of the dress just looked messy and actually detracted from the lovely openwork of the fabric. The dress was a great silhouette on her, though, so overall, it was a nice look.

Sally Field also wore an age appropriate gown that was far from matronly.  Her midnight blue, off the shoulder lace sheath with train was flattering, if unremarkable. She wears this color often, and it sets off her dramatic coloring beautifully. The most positive aspect of this gown is that it fades into the background so that you focus on the wearer, not the dress. Which is not a bad thing.

Sutton Foster opted for a very traditional black beaded gown with plunging neckline and slightly full skirt.  Black is always lovely with her dark hair and pale skin, and the halter style bodice showed off her tall and slender figure to perfection.  Proof that simple can be striking.

Jane Houdyshell, Paula Vogel, and Anna Fausto-Sterling were three of several older women wearing striking pantsuits.  All three wore loose-fitting black pants and tunic style blouses topped with long, loose silver jackets.  Elegant, if a bit casual, these ladies looked comfortable but still right at home on the red carpet. Extra points to Fausto-Sterling for the touch of color in her soft turquoise scarf.

Keltie Knight sometimes hits and sometimes misses on the red carpet, but she's never afraid to take a risk.  In this case, however, that risk did not pay off.  The shape of the neckline is quite pretty, with its black scalloped lace, but the shoulders are too square and puffy, and the black granny panties with tight, see through lace pants were just plain ugly.  And her nearly nude makeup and boring hair aren't helping any. She's a stunningly beautiful woman, but this outfit does its best to conceal that fact.

I loved Mimi Lien's metallic gold flapper inspired gown.  The angled hemline was graceful and the horizontal bands of fabric across the bodice concealed just enough skin to avoid looking trashy.  I'm not sure whether the multiple gold chokers were part of the dress or not, but I loved them. There were just enough non-period details to make the dress couture instead of costumey. And the dress had really beautiful movement and swing. But the best part of the gown was how perfectly it echoed her fascinatingly melded vintage/contemporary design for Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812, for which she won the Tony for Best Scenic Design of a Musical.

I wanted to love Laura Linney's dress, I really did.  And I do love the silhouette, especially the shape of the bodice and the narrow belt tying in one of the colors of the print.  But the hem was too long and the fabric pattern was too busy.  I think I might have liked it at a cocktail length, but as a full length gown it was just too much and too busy.

Bette Midler's gown was surprisingly bland.  I loved the flared ruffles on the sleeves and the overall silhouette, but the simple neckline and drab fabric were just boring.  Change the neckline to a V or square neck and change the color to emerald or scarlet and it would have worked. Midler is just too big of a personality to wear such a bland dress. She did, however, end up taking home the Tony for Beat Leading Actress in a Musical, so that was a pretty nice accessory. 

Patina Miller's electric pink maternity gown was simple but pretty.  The color was terrific on her, but I would have loved just a few more interesting details.  Perhaps a touch of lace or scalloped finish at the neckline or a statement necklace or bracelet, or even a whimsical clutch would have given her that needed pop. But her pregnancy glow was the best accessory she could have had, and she did look truly lovely.

I loved the geometric patterns of Eva Noblezada's black and white ethnic inspired dress.  The chain of circles at the shoulders and hem softened the straight lines, and the peeps of skin at cleavage, waist, and thigh were modestly covered with lacing.  It was both visually interesting and flattering, and she wore it beautifully.

If I could have chosen any gown from the Tony awards to add to my own closet, it would have been this stunning jeweled halter worn by Cristina Ottaviano.  The bodice was encrusted with dark and light purple and amber jewels, which were spaced further and further apart towards the bottom of the dress, until revealing black fabric from the knees down.  It was a truly striking look, further emphasized by her sleek and hair and understated makeup.

Sarah Paulson is often a disaster on the red carpet, but in this case she was definitely on the well dressed list.  Her two piece gauzy white column puddled gracefully at the hem, and the texture of the fabric was just enough detail to make it interesting.The slight flare at the hem of the bodice broke up the silhouette beautifully and was a lovely change from a standard fitted sheath. Her deep red handbag and diamond chandelier earrings were the perfect finishing touches.

Cobie Smulders sported a whimsical ball gown with an interesting print that reminded me of Eric Carle illustrations.  The simple bodice and flared skirt needed no fancy details other than the bold print, and her simple shiny bob and minimal makeup gave her a fresh youthful look. A slightly different and very pretty look.

Rebecca Taichman wore another of my favorite looks of the evening.  Her flowing gown consisted of bands of black, silver, and copper, with just a few hints of see-through panels.  The beautifully curved diagonal lines were graceful and flattering, and the lightweight fabric looked airy and comfortable.  It was a lovely and subtle upgrade from basic black. Taichman took home the Tony for Best Direction of a Play, but she easily held her own fashion-wise with any of the on-stage performers. 

Chrissy Teigen's white and gold art deco column emphasized her curves in all the right places.  I loved the notched bodice and plain white skirt with two simple gold lines.  And of course, John Legend on your arm is always the perfect accessory.

I'm not sure what Uma Thurman was thinking in this shapeless black sack.  The deep v neckline was pretty, but the pushed-up sleeves, slightly too short skirt, and the pockets which were not big enough for her hands (which did not stop her from trying to use them, however) were simply not right for a red carpet event.  Too bad she didn't reuse one of her gowns from Cannes!

Liu Wen, on the arm of designer Zach Posen, looked positively ethereal in this floating, off the shoulder, floral print ball gown.  The softness of the fabric, paired with the fitted bodice, came off as feminine without being girly.  And the dark background of the print brings a certain maturity. Everything about this gown was well-thought-out and carefully designed, and the result was simply gorgeous.

And finally, we have Olivia Wilde in her bright red bathrobe.  The sleeves are a little too wide, the hem is a little too long, the front is a little too open, and the silhouette is a little too shapeless.  It just comes off as drab, which isn't easy to do in a red spangled gown. But it serves to prove that the devil really is in the details, and balance and proportion are crucial in any design.

 It would be unfair to close this review without including the award winners who were not pictured in my original photo source, so here is the list of major award winners for whom I could find photos. (Women only, simply because the men were uniformly well-dressed, and where's the fun in critiquing that?)

Best Leading Actress in a Play, Laurie Metcalf, wore a deep green satin gown with a heavily draped neckline and a-line skirt with a knee-length slit. From the front, the dress was almost dowdy, but the back featured a wide keyhole opening that was a startlingly sexy contrast to the restrained front, and bumped my opinion of the dress up several notches. Shame on the photographers for not capturing a rear view.

Best Featured Actress in a Play, Cynthia Nixon, wore a pale pink satin sheath with a huge bow and trailing tails at the back. The color was perfect on her, as was the silhouette. My only quibbles were that the hem was just a hair too short, and the deep orange shoes didn't work for me. But still, it was a simple and elegant look that suited her well.

Another of my favorite looks of the night was worn by Best Featured Actress in a Musical, Rachel Bay Jones. Her strapless, Tiffany blue ballgown featured a full, flared skirt and a wide self-belt with buckle, and it really didn't need any other details. The fabric had such gorgeous body and structure that it floated instead of looking heavy or bulky as ballgowns sometimes do. And her softly waved blond hair and light, fresh makeup were just right for the simple style.

I am always fascinated by the range of outfits worn by costume designers on the red carpet, from completely bland to completely outrageous, but Jane Greenwood, who won for Best Costume Design of a Play, struck a beautiful middle ground. Her full black satin skirt and plain black round-necked top were basic, but served as the perfect canvas for her beautifully-tailored, Asian-inspired, watercolor print jacket. I loved the simple accessories of a black neck scarf, large black frogs on the jacket, and a small silver pendant. This is a designer who clearly knows her stuff.

Any fashions that caught your eye that I missed? Let me know in the comments!!

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