Tony Awards: Fashion A-Listers Dish on Their Broadway Favorites

Carolyn Murphy and Michael Kors - Tony Awards Carpet - Getty - H 2017
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Anna Wintour, Michael Kors and Hamish Bowles discuss what moved them this season.

Fashion and Broadway remain one happy marriage, if Sunday night’s Tony Awards red carpet is any indication.

It’s been three years since Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour partnered with legendary costume designer William Ivey Long to upgrade the look of Broadway’s biggest night — how is she feeling about the red carpet’s style evolution? “You tell me — I do like the roses,” she said, referring to the 20,000 white blossoms comprising five different rose varieties, all nestled among greenery on the red carpet backdrop. (Wintour’s influence indeed could be felt in that decision, as the wall was crafted by Raul Avila, who also produces the floral designs for the annual Met Gala.)

Accompanied by her daughter, Bee Shaffer, Wintour, who was dressed in Maison Margiela Artisinal, demurred on naming a favorite production or performance, preferring instead to discuss how the Broadway landscape differs between this year and a certain musical that dominated 2016. “What we loved about this season is that, unlike last year, we won’t be seeing a Hamilton sweep among this year’s winners,” she said. “This season there was so much great work by young actors and young playwrights, so we don’t really know what’s going to happen tonight.”

The one exception to that idea: Bette Midler and her celebrated turn in Hello, Dolly!, widely acknowledged to be the night’s surest best to win in the best actress in a musical category. Said Wintour, “She’s a lock.”

Michael Kors agreed. “Not to be cliche, but Bette Midler is a once-in-a-lifetime moment in the theater,” he said. “It’s a legendary performance at the fulcrum of a perfect moment — in the right show at the right time with the right performer. I was so knocked out.” Other favorites of the season? “Dear Evan Hansen was brilliant; Oslo also knocked me out, and Sweat was remarkable,” he said. “Really, there were so many good things to see this year, and so many that felt very pertinent to our times.”

A passionate Broadway fan — “I’m a theater geek, it’s OK, I admit it” — Kors is among a handful of designers who have added the Tony Awards to their annual calendar. Prabal Gurung accompanied Candice Swanepoel and Zac Posen brought Liu Wen (who flew in from Shanghai to attend), while Kors was with Carolyn Murphy, who’s been drawing raves for her appearance on the July cover of British Vogue.

Hamish Bowles hasn’t seen Hello, Dolly! yet — “though I cannot wait,” he said — but, like Kors, counts Dear Evan Hansen and Oslo among his favorites of the season. He also loved the current revival of Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes — but with Laura Linney and Cynthia Nixon alternating the two female leads of Regina and Birdie, Vogue’s international editor-at-large feels as though he’s only half-completed that experience. “I have to go back and see Laura as Regina,” Bowles said. “A lot of my friends have done both the matinee and evening performance the same day, with dinner in between.”

Kors is likewise on board with that strategy: “It’s the way to do it, and it’s amazing.”