“I was looking through pictures of the royal wedding, and I see Meghan Markle arrive looking fantastic at her rehearsal dinner," the show's costume designer told Playbill

By Justin Curto
July 03, 2019 02:40 PM

Tootsie‘s sparkling red dress is a far cry from the navy one Meghan Markle wore as she arrived at the hotel the night before her royal wedding, but the Broadway show’s costume designer says the Duchess of Sussex inspired the musical’s signature look.

Based off a 1982 movie, Tootsie, which premiered on Broadway last year, follows an actor who dresses in drag to revive his career. William Ivey Long, the musical’s costume designer, told Playbill that the red dress that Santino Fontana wears to play Michael Dorsey’s alter-ego Dorothy Michaels (a role for which he won a Tony this year) was inspired by Meghan’s pre-wedding look.

“I was looking through pictures of the royal wedding, and I see Meghan Markle arrive looking fantastic at her rehearsal dinner and she’s wearing an asymmetrical neckline and an asymmetrical hemline,” Long said.

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Meghan Markle, in Roland Mouret, arriving at her rehearsal dinner.
Steve Parsons/PA Wire

Meghan, 37, wore the “Barwick Dress” from Roland Mouret. Long said because Fontana, 37, “does not have a pronounced Adam’s apple,” he wanted a dress that could show off the actor’s neck.

“I showed it to Santino and said, ‘You [as Dorothy] could have seen this royal wedding and thought, ‘I want that dress,’ and you’d look it up and they’re already copying it and making different versions, and they’ll send it to you,” he added. “That Meghan Markle dress was the breakthrough moment.”

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Long said he drew on the new royal mom’s style for all of Fontana’s looks as Dorothy. The red dress has since become synonymous with the show, gracing its posters and Playbills.

All the women in the musical should look “flirtatious and strong,” Long said. “Dorothy Michaels didn’t want to be dowdy, she wanted to be glamorous.”

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