Recently Christian Siriano visited Evanston Boutique Chalk for a trunk show of his S/S 2016 Collection. The designer and I had a chat about the highlights of his decade-long career, where he draws inspiration, and what makes him different from his designer counterparts.
While Christian’s client base boasts A-listers, his first inspiration was his older sister. He shared with me how his sister would go to High School in these extravagant outfits. Little did he know, his sister would become one of his first introductions to fashion. The siblings both studied ballet, and it was at ballet recitals where Christian would become interested in the art of crafting clothes. The voluminous tutus, the dazzling costumes, the coiffed hair and refined makeup sparked something in a young Christian Siriano. Interestingly enough, Christian takes us back to his childhood memories with his ballet inspired S/S 2013 collection. The runway featured an abundance of pastels and flowing fabrics.
Whether he’s inspired by his childhood memories or his worldly travels, with each collection we are submersed into the world of Christian Siriano.
His Spring 2016 collection boasts the vision of a world traveler. Christian shared that it was inspired by the Empirical cities of Morocco and features various remnants of Moroccan culture. He shows me a skirt that features textures reminiscent of the thick Moroccan wedding blanket. Then he gently swirls a crop top letting the air move the fringe. With each piece, the wearer is transported to a journey through Marrakesh, Fez, and Casablanca.
While Christian is considered new in the eyes of fashion compared to veterans like Cavalli, Gucci, and Dior, his aesthetic and attention to details mimics the ability of someone with decades of experience. Christian explained to me how he doesn’t want to be compared to the veterans and looking at his body of work, it’s clear that Christian Siriano is doing a fine job of carving his own path.
One thing about Christian Siriano that makes him ahead of some of his counterparts is that he and his team understand the changing landscape of fashion. It’s no longer about that classic staple such as the black dress or the tailored suit. Today’s consumer is ready to add some spice to her life as well as her closet. He states that “people aren’t looking for that classic piece that they can wear season after season which is why big brands like Dior, Valentino, or Chanel are having to change it up” Instead of the little black dress, Christian is going to give you a gorgeous voluminous black gown. Instead of tailored dress pants, Christian is going to give you wide leg trousers made of rare and luxurious fabrics. Christian Siriano is not for your everyday staples, but rather your everyday statement.
His designs feature a unique and creative focus, making his creations stand out among the constant influx of new designer collections season after season. He has a clear understanding of quality and fit which is why he has quickly become a designer to watch within the last decade. Celebrities ranging all the way from Victoria Beckham, Solange, and Oprah consider themselves fans of the young designer. In fact, it’s probably a much shorter list trying to figure out who hasn’t worn Christian Siriano. This alone speaks to the unique versatility that distinguishes Christian from other designers. However, it’s not just the beautiful designs that make Christian worth talking about. Christian is among one of the few high fashion designers that designs for all women. And it’s not all talk, Christian has the receipts to prove it.
His first collection featured up to size 16 and he now designs for size 24. After showing that he knows how to design and flatter all women, Christian went on to partner with Lane Bryant. The collection continues to be a hit and the designer is making sure that his high fashion aesthetic is not absent from the collection. The silhouettes are form-fitting instead of loose and baggy and the skirts are sheer and flirty instead of boxy and bland. The collection is a breath of fresh air for that customer who wants high fashion attire that flatters her curvy physique. While other designers alienate a large part of the market but only going up to a size 10, Christian “didn’t want to alienate any woman because you never know who can be a great customer” With sales for the collection skyrocketing, Christian is making sure no one gets left behind.
It can be difficult, season after season he states “My challenge is making each collection diverse enough for all these different types of women” All types of women can connect to a piece from Christian Siriano whether they are the socialite 20 something or the 80-year-old grandmother at her granddaughter’s wedding.”We have so many different types of women that can wear the clothes. That’s kind of my thing that it’s always been generational”. It’s hard to believe that it’s been only 10 years and Christian Siriano already has a firm grasp on his audience.
He keeps his pulse on his audience by remaining active on social media. If you follow Christian’s social accounts you’ll see backstage access of fashion shows and a behind the scenes look into his studio. Christian even shares that he does a form of market research on his social accounts. If a post gets a lot of likes, chances are you’ll see it on the runway.
Before our chat concluded, Christian and I parted with him sharing some helpful fashion tips. He says “it’s better to be overdressed than under dressed” I’m sure everyone with a love for fashion shares these sentiments.
Season after season Christian Siriano continues to wow and amaze with his exquisite designs and I’m sure there is more to look forward to throughout this blossoming designer’s career.
Runway Photo Credit: Photos Provided by Christian Siriano