If there was ever any doubt anout whether talent or fashion is more important on a NYC red carpet, set your mind at rest. fashion is the clear winner. The entire red carpet experience in NYC is a top of the range fashion/marketing/industry exercise in which actual talent on the stage is way way behind.
All doubt has been put aside by what is happening with this year’s Tony Awards. The Tony awards are when Broadway performers get honored for their talents. However Anna Wintour has declared last year’s Tony awards a disaster so has taken hold of this year’s event to ensure there appropriate NYC fashion standards are upheld.
The awards part of the Tonys takes place inside the Radio Music Hall theater and the red carpet segment is all outside the theater and is a completely different beast. Over a period of about 15 years red carpets in NYC have morphed from a dress up occasion to a complex fashion/branding/marketing extravaganza heavily reliant on female stars to pull off.
No matter how much we might recoil at the blatant treatment of female stars as ‘product’ as indeed they are when they appear on a red carpet, they get very well rewarded. To the great unwhased, i.e. you and me, the whole event is now a fully feldged Cinderlla moment in which we are wholly complicit. If Cinderllea had gone to the ball without that killer dress and the glass slippers would the Prince have noticed her? Well no and these days we are the Prince, eyes peeled and tongues wagging in our determination to criticize or applaud these present day Cinderellas as they parade for our inspection.
Female starts on the NYCF red carpet are multi-tasking to the max. They are branding themselves, by wearing a superb gown and totally rocking it; they are showing off incredible jewelry and being paid a fortune to do so, think upwards of half a mill; they are advertising a designer’s extravagant creations and again either directly or indirectly getting paid for it and they area at work, picking up sponsorhsip money in a variety of ways. So no pressure.
But Wintour of course though necessarily part of the commercialization of the whole red carpet experience is also doing something else. She is at this stage of her career that peerless individual a supreme fashion arbiter. It is she who says which designers are in or out and what fashion aesthetic is acceptable. So for this year’s Tonys she is taking charge to ensure there is no super abundance of sequins, fishtails or dresses that are so wrong they put at risk NYC’s fashion ascendancy not just in the antion but indeed in the world.
She has after all just supervised the biggest fashion event of the year, the Met Gala Ball, where people who stray too far from her chosen fashion aesthetic never ever get a return invite because she controls the guest list. It would be interesting to know what she thought of the nude dress interpretations of Beyonce/Jo Lo/ Kardashian. I’m pretty sure she mightily admireed the fashion chops of Rhianna at the event because she’s always admired a drama queen as long as she’s long on drama but short on trashy.