Apparently, the era of Tony Awards attendees in frumpy evening pantsuits, head-scratching headgear and diva dresses is over.
The annual awards show to celebrate American theater has gone fashion with a capital "F."
It's no longer a rite of Broadway stardom to be wonderfully, whimsically unchic, as Sunday night's glittering Tonys red carpet showed. And it's a shame. The stage used to be the place that movie stars went to prove they are serious, where looking and dressing glam were secondary to the craft. But now, like everything else, it's gone Hollywood, with celebrities in leading roles, and stage adaptations of films helping to fill the seats. I guess it's no wonder that the Tonys red carpet would follow suit.
This year's awards featured younger presenters, wearing an array of mostly American designers. There was also the first-ever Tony Awards red carpet live stream, hosted by Darren Criss (of Broadway and TV's "Glee" fame) and two-time Tony nominee Laura Osnes). The Tonys are presented by the Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing.
TV reality show royal Kendall Jenner was dressed in orange Calvin Klein, "High School Musical" starlet Ashley Tisdale in a fluttery black crop top and wide legged pants by Solace London, and actress Taylor Schilling ("Orange Is the New Black") and Sports Illustrated swimsuit model Hilary Rhoda both wore gowns with sexy cutouts, designed by theater enthusiast Michael Kors. Yes, cutouts... at the Tonys!
Elisabeth Moss ("Mad Men," "The Heidi Chronicles") wore a floral Oscar de la Renta frock, and a slew of actresses chose Zac Posen, including co-host Kristin Chenoweth and Broadway royalty Bernadette Peters.
Even the men got into the fashion act. Nick Jonas wore Louis Vuitton to introduce "Finding Neverland" with Jennifer Lopez in toned-down Valentino. And Bradley Cooper wore custom Salvatore Ferragamo. Co-host Alan Cumming ("The Good Wife," "Cabaret") went his own way, as always, dressing in a navy blue shorts suit, with printed jacket and sneakers, on the red carpet, and changing a dozen times throughout the night while he was on stage.
The fashioning-up of the Tonys is thanks to none other than Vogue editor- in-chief Anna Wintour, a longtime attendee of the awards, who was seated second row on Sunday night, where she was serenaded at one point. Page Six reported in March that William Ivey Long, American Theatre Wing chair and costume designer, asked Wintour to help make the red carpet more chic after she complained the 2014 awards were a disaster. (That's when Cherry Jones wore a shiny, shapeless pantsuit, Adriane Lenox a cone hat, and Fran Drescher a creamsicle-colored ruched diva gown.)
All of this year's Tony nominees were styled with the help of fashion PR powerhouse KCD and editors from Vogue, Teen Vogue and Vanity Fair, according to Fashionista.com.
Predictably, everyone looked fabulous, and the younger eye candy could help bring a new audience to the Tonys and to Broadway.
But I wonder if we won't look back wistfully on the Tonys, just as we do on the Oscars, and get nostalgic for the days of individual style statements, no matter how ill-advised they may be. Now, the theater awards have become just another in an endless line of polished, magazine-ready red carpets. Same old, same old.
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