Why the Tonys Red Carpet Is Different Than Other Award Shows

Stylist Micaela Erlanger tells InStyle all about the getting-ready process ahead of the big night.

Tony Awards Style
Photo: Walter McBride/Getty Images

Sometimes, we get so caught up in the glitz and glamour of award shows that we often forget all the work that goes on behind the scenes. Those stars didn’t just show up in fancy ball gowns and flawless makeup — a team of talented people make that happen. For the 2019 Tony Awards, one of those people is Micaela Erlanger, a stylist who will be dressing Hadestown's Amber Gray and Tootsie's Sarah Stiles (among a few others) on the big night.

“We work for several weeks leading up to the Tonys,” she reveals to InStyle via email, talking about the process of pulling together those red-carpet looks. “Then we have three to four days of fittings and alteration checks.”

In terms of trends, this year Erlanger — whose A-list clients include the likes of Lupita Nyong'o and Meryl Streep — is gravitating toward color, both in gown form (“It’s summer!”) and tuxedos for men. And if you spot a slightly familiar design somewhere in the crowd? Well, that was most likely planned.

“I love a reference or a nod to a character. Sometimes we incorporate that inspiration into the look,” she says.

Erlanger has been in the fashion industry for years, and is no stranger to an award show or even the Tonys (last year she dressed Mean Girls’s Ashley Park). She says that there's one big difference between this event and the others.

“Dressing for the Tonys is a bit like a marathon!” she says. “The difference with the Tonys is that a lot of the talent are also coming straight from a performance to the red carpet, or they are performing at the Tonys. We always take that into consideration because oftentimes the talent have to change really quickly!”

Despite the time crunch night of, Erlanger still strives to give her clients those whoa moments, which fans will remember for years to come.

“A moment is a confluence of things — it’s the perfect dress on the perfect person, it’s the perfect hair and makeup, it’s the perfect feeling and mood and it’s the perfect photo captured," she says. "I am in the business of making moments and making stars."

We have no doubt we'll be seeing a few of those on Sunday night.

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