Tony Awards Red Carpet: Dresses to Impress, and the Men Wore Them Well


Billy Porter has been shutting down red carpets all year, cutting through seas of traditional gowns and tuxes in gender-bending, head-turning garments.

In January, he owned the Oscars’ red carpet in an enormous, perfectly tailored tuxedo gown. In May, at the Met Gala, he wore a bodysuit dripping in gold with massive golden wings, and a 24-karat-gold headpiece. He was carried by six shirtless men in gold trousers.

The Tony Awards red carpet on Sunday was no different, except this time Mr. Porter wasn’t alone in challenging gender norms.

[“Hadestown triumphed at the Tony Awards.]

Some expressions were subtle — Jeremy Pope, the star of “Choir Boy” and “Ain’t Too Proud,” and Michael Urie, the star of “High Button Shoes,” wore suits adorned with ruffles — but others, like Mr. Porter’s, were undeniable.

Mr. Porter wore the literal embodiment of Broadway: the red velvet curtain that once rose and fell on stage for the entirety of his Tony-winning “Kinky Boots.” He starred in more than 1,000 shows before the musical closed in April.

A performance artist who was nominated this year for “Gary” (it opened in April), Mac has long snubbed traditional notions of gender and uses “judy” as a pronoun.

“I don’t think there are any rules other than the ones you set for yourself,” Mac said on the red carpet. “I spent too many years being a cater waiter to enjoy wearing a tux. If there’s an opportunity to present art to the world, you should take it.”

Jordan Roth, a prominent Broadway theater owner and producer, wore an outfit that was fiery red from head to toe, including a floor-length red sequin cape. It was created by Clare Waight Keller of Givenchy and inspired by the musical “Hadestown.” He said he sees his red carpet appearances as “short performance pieces” that allow him to express who he is.

Mr. Roth said that these days there are fewer rules governing gender expression at these high-profile events — but only if you allow yourself to go against the grain when it comes to apparel.

“The strongest rules come from within and those are the hardest to break,” he said, “Every time you do, it gets easier and it feels better and better.”



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