Tony Awards voter walks the red carpet in Native couture

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Colleen Jennings-Roggensack poses on the red carpet in an ACONAV original dress.

PHOENIX

If you caught the Tony Awards on TV earlier this month, you may have also caught a glimpse of one of Native designer Loren Aragon’s latest creations.

Colleen Jennings-Roggensack, Arizona State University’s vice president for cultural affairs, executive director of ASU Gammage, and Arizona’s only voter in the 2019 Tony Awards, walked the red carpet in a vivid red satin strapless creation by Loren Aragon of ACONAV.

“It was our first-ever red carpet debut,” said Aragon in a telephone interview. “According to Colleen, a lot of people were really drawn to the dress. It added to the diversity of the evening.”

Since Jennings-Roggensack was the only Arizonan among the voters, Aragon used the dress to depict the Southwest with his signature lattice design and motifs from Acoma pottery.

The gown contained elements of two ACONAV dresses Jennings-Roggensack liked, combined for a “one-of-a-kind look,” Aragon said, adding, “It’s wearable art.”

Red was chosen because it was one of the colors Jennings-Roggensack requested, but it also has a lot of significance for Natives, Aragon explained.

“In my culture, it represents honoring the ancestors,” he noted, “and it’s also the color of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women awareness movement.”


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About The Author

Cindy Yurth

Cindy Yurth is the Tséyi' Bureau reporter, covering the Central Agency of the Navajo Nation. Her other beats include agriculture and Arizona state politics. She holds a bachelor’s degree in technical journalism from Colorado State University with a cognate in geology. She has been in the news business since 1980 and with the Navajo Times since 2005, and is the author of “Exploring the Navajo Nation Chapter by Chapter.” She can be reached at cyurth@navajotimes.com.