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June 7, 2022

During this year’s Tony Awards on June 12, the Broadway League’s Vice Chair of the Road and Arizona’s only Tony voter, Colleen Jennings-Roggensack, volition dazzle the red-carpeting ceremony in an original dress by Phoenix designer Melissa Torres.

“Fashion designers are artists,” said Jennings-Roggensack, vice president for cultural affairs at Arizona State University and executive director of ASU Gammage. “Creative and passionate award events like the Tonys give local designers a chance to be seen, connecting the local fashion community to the world of Broadway. It has been an honor to non only work with a local designer, but someone with such immense talent and passion for her craft.”

A woman in a short formal gown stands on a stage
Colleen Jennings-Roggensack at the wearing apparel reveal on the ASU Gammage stage on May 31.
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The dress made specifically for Jennings-Roggensack is the starting time Torres design to ever striking the red carpet.

“This is my first official carmine-carpet debut,” Torres said. “A huge role of my goal equally a designer is to create outfits for the red carpet. So it’due south a dream come truthful.”

Too known equally Mia, Torres was born and raised in Phoenix and has always had a love for fashion. In 2019, Torres began to make her dreams a reality when she graduated from Phoenix College with ii acquaintance degrees in arts and mode blueprint.

Shortly after her graduation, Torres debuted her manner line, hosting an upshot in downtown Phoenix. That was where she continued with ASU Gammage and then Jennings-Roggensack.

“Colleen had already been on my radar; I knew she used Arizona designers for her Tony dresses. I was beyond excited to get this opportunity and design something but for her,” Torres said.

The process for Jennings-Roggensack’due south dress began in December 2019, with the intention for the garment to exist worn at the 2020 Tony Awards.

“I originally wanted to connect the dress to Broadway shows set to open in 2020. I did my research and became inspired past the musical ‘Diana’,” Torres said.

Torres began working on a gown inspired by Catherine Walker’s white pearl-studded dress made for Princess Diana in 1989.

“As I started working, I realized the dress was as well heavy and came off very bridal. Then the pandemic started, and I just knew that I wasn’t meant to work on this design,” Torres said. “COVID-19 was a approving in disguise because it gave me two years to redesign something that’southward comfy and fits Colleen. I’k and so happy I got a second gamble.”

Keeping “Diana” as her inspiration, Torres went back to the drawing lath, adding her ain flare to the new blueprint.

“I switched it to royal and made it my own by shortening the length to give it that Melissa Torres experience,” she said.

With the wearing apparel in the works for over 2 years, Torres and Jennings-Roggensack accept built a strong human relationship, working together throughout every step of the blueprint process.

“My favorite part about working with Colleen is her enthusiasm,” Torres said. “This dress is different from what she’south worn before, and I love that she loves my ideas and is willing to endeavour something new. It’s astonishing to work with a client like that.”

Torres has made it her mission to “design statement pieces for the influential,” with this gown setting the precedent for her future designs and red-carpet looks.

“I am all almost think it, believe it, receive it,” she said. “When I think most my future, I recall about working with clients who are going to walk the red carpet at the Emmys, the Oscars, the Grammys. My goal is to be an


Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony awards.

designer, and it all starts with opportunities like this. If I can give anyone advice it would be to never give up, believe in yourself totally and reach for every opportunity given.”