What's on Tap

What's on Tap

O&A at the Tonys: Bringing NC to NYC

Posted June 3, 2015
Updated June 4, 2015

DPAC's Sami Biardi and Out and About Editor Kathy Hanrahan try on Justin Leblanc's garments for the Tony Awards.

— When I found out that I was headed to the Tony Awards, I wanted to bring North Carolina to NYC! And the best way to do that was to showcase the awesome talent we have right here in the Triangle.

So, I reached out to a great local designer - N.C. State's Justin Leblanc. You might remember him from "Project Runway." I've been a fan of his work and decided to ask if he or one of his design students would be interested in helping come up with something for me to wear on the red carpet and to the awards. I figured it was a long shot, but he actually responded pretty quickly.

A new piece was impossible since Justin was out of town and we only had about three weeks, but he did offer to let me wear one of his runway pieces. He even was gracious enough to dress my partner-in-crime for this Tony Awards adventure - DPAC's Sami Biardi.

I was immediately drawn to Justin's zip-tie dresses. Basically, they are made of mesh covered in colored zip ties. From a distance they look like feathers, but as you get closer you can see the plastic ends. First, I tried on a stunning black dress with a really high slit, plunging back and front. The fit just wasn't right and with that slit, I doubt I could have sat down for three hours at an awards show!

Then, I tried on the dress I plan to wear this Sunday night. It's purple and black zip ties with a low back and deep v-neck front. Definitely a show-stopper! It will be held up by fashion tape and a prayer.

Sami opted for a beautiful white sequined pant suit with a flowing backless top. Gorgeous!

If we are able to hit an after-party, I'm hoping to change out of the zip tie dress (that thing is very heavy and pokes a little bit on the inside!) and into the dress version of Sami's pant suit. We are going to look like two members of Destiny's Child with our same material, different outfits, but that's fine by me because everything Justin designs is gorgeous.

Other items we loved but didn't select: A pantsuit and dress that showed the map of the city of Raleigh and 3D printed necklaces.

Notice how we cropped the above pic? You are going to have to wait until Sunday to see our finished looks!

Thanks, Justin for letting us show off your fashions in NYC! We can't wait for someone to ask "Who are you wearing?"

For more on Justin, check out his website, Justin Leblanc Design.

So, me, Sami and our sequins and zip-ties are headed to NYC at the end of the week.

The Tony Awards will air live on WRAL on Sunday at 8 p.m. This year, Tony Award-winners Krisin Chenoweth and Alan Cumming will be hosting.

Look for our posts this week about how to get red carpet ready right here in the Triangle.

Follow Out and About and the DPAC on Twitter! And interact with us using the hashtag #WRALTonys.

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