Pen­guin Suits, One Night Only

WWD Digital Daily - - Fragrance Foundation Awards -

While a de­par­ture, he's hav­ing fun play­ing the part of fash­ion­ista host. He comes bound­ing out of his bed­room dressed in his first look of the night and does a lit­tle jig for his au­di­ence. Crosby, Stills & Nash, Fleet­wood Mac and Van Mor­ri­son play over the speaker sys­tem as the team drinks cold brew “jet fuel” and each weighs in on Groban's sar­to­rial fate for the big night.

Groban's stylist of the past few years, Robert Mol­nar, has pulled tuxe­dos and suits for the host to ro­tate through, in­ter­chang­ing with the var­i­ous cos­tume mo­ments Groban and Bareilles have up their sleeve. He'll be­gin, it's de­cided, in egg­plant Gucci for the red car­pet, be­fore chang­ing into all black

Saint Lau­rent, a navy printed Ferragamo look and a clas­sic Her­mès tux; for the af­ter par­ties, it's back to color in bur­gundy Paul Smith, fin­ished with a printed tie.

An em­bossed Bri­oni jacket is de­bated but nixed by Groban for be­ing too flashy. He tries patent dress shoes with the Saint Lau­rent look but, it's uni­formly agreed upon, it needs some­thing less shiny. For the Paul Smith suit, Mol­nar pulls out tan Saint Lau­rent Chelsea boots, but they're not quite right on Groban, who opts for dress shoes in­stead.

He and Bareilles worked long dis­tance over the past few months on the three-hour pro­gram, with the month be­tween nominations and the awards be­ing crunch time.

“With the Os­cars and the Em­mys, you have a long lead-up time be­tween the nominations and the show. With the Tonys, you get the nominations and then you have to figure out what you're go­ing to do with those shows,” Groban says, sit­ting cross-legged on a teal vel­vet couch fol­low­ing the fit­tings. “Our day jobs kept us out of New York right up un­til a few weeks ago; I've been in the U.K., I've been in

Los An­ge­les, Sara and I were just in Vir­ginia do­ing an arts ed­u­ca­tion gala for our friend Ja­son Mraz, so we've been co­or­di­nat­ing a lot from ho­tel rooms...Facetime calls at three in the morn­ing U.K. time, I had a lit­tle pi­ano set up in my room in Lon­don.”

The duo's host­ing ap­proach has been to stay as true to them­selves as pos­si­ble, which means not tak­ing on any of the ex­pected tropes an awards show host might be ex­pected to.

“We're not stand-up co­me­di­ans, we're not al­ready talk-show hosts,” he says. “There are a lot of things when you're hir­ing a host for an awards show, some­times you have that where peo­ple know what you're al­ready go­ing to do, that you're go­ing to go out and you're go­ing to zing peo­ple in the au­di­ence and you're go­ing to make fun of this and you're go­ing to be edgy...and Sara and I first and fore­most are com­ing from the mu­sic world. We are cross­over into the Broad­way com­mu­nity that has been so open-armed to us, we're fans of ev­ery­body in that room, and so we figure there's enough cyn­i­cism to go around in the world right now; let's go out there and be our­selves, let's be en­thu­si­as­tic, let's have pos­i­tive en­ergy, which is some­thing I think a lot of peo­ple re­ally want and need right now.”

Come Mon­day, Groban will be off re­lax­ing around his neigh­bor­hood — “I'm go­ing to take a long walk,” he says — but will then be right back to work on his next record in Los An­ge­les, due in the fall. He also has the Net­flix show “The Good Cop” on the hori­zon, where he plays “a clean-shaven, ob­ses­sive com­pul­sive, goody-twoshoes homi­cide de­tec­tive,” and a Eu­ro­pean sta­dium tour fol­low­ing the al­bum's re­lease.

What he'll wear for all of that re­mains to be seen. For now, there are more suits to try on.

“Once I have some­thing I re­ally like — much to Robert Mol­nar's cha­grin — I like it and I wear it all the time,” Groban says. “He's al­ways try­ing to push me out of my shell. Al­ways. But you know what Robert, I was bul­lied too much in school to take risks on the red car­pet. Ev­ery time I tried to go out of the norm at school I'd get a wedgie. But keep push­ing. Ev­ery so of­ten maybe

I'll wear a gold bow tie on the red car­pet.”

Josh Groban

in Her­mès.

Josh Groban in Saint Lau­rent.

Josh Groban in Gucci.

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