When Christian Siriano created a knockout red, off-the-shoulder, slit-to-there gown for Leslie Jones to wear to the “Ghostbusters” premiere, after the statuesque star tweeted that no designer would dress her for the event, he sent a powerful message: He would be the designer of inclusion.
It’s a message that resonated with first lady Michelle Obama, who wore a deep-blue dress by the fourth-season “Project Runway” winner when she gave her speech to the Democratic Party National Convention this past summer.
“You can wear whatever, be whatever, do whatever you want,” Siriano has said.
And he walks the talk. Partnering with Lane Bryant to offer an exclusive plus-size collection, Siriano creates clothing to complement all figures, from petite to curvy. Indeed, his clothes have flattered an array of celebrities from Emily Blunt to Lady Gaga, Christina Hendricks, Heidi Klum, Solange Knowles, Lea Michele, Lupita Nyong’o and Oprah Winfrey.
He even took body acceptance a step further and co-wrote “Fierce Style: How to Be Your Most Fabulous Self” with Rennie Dyball ($10.99 eBook). (Words like “fierce,” “fabulous” and “ferocious” helped make him a distinctive winner during “Project Runway’s” 2008 season.)
Siriano’s latest collection — Fall/Winter 2016 — was inspired by textile artist Sheila Hicks. The result is a marriage of volume, texture, soft fibers and masculine undertones translated into menswear-inspired suits and tailored evening pieces, for a slightly androgynous, but still characteristically feminine style.
“We looked at different ways to knit, twist and manipulate fabric into pieces that had structure, but were soft and elegant,” Siriano has said. “To modernize these techniques, we digitally printed knitted fibers onto silk jerseys, cottons and wool in order to capture the idea of a knit — without the process of knitting. Just as Hicks weaves textured narratives with yarn, we tried to create a collection with story progression.”
Siriano’s use of color takes center stage in this collection, with red and yellow popping out beside black and gray.
In the years since “Runway,” the Manhattan-based designer — who divides his time between Chelsea and a summer home in Danbury — has been multitasking.
He’s done shoes and handbags for Payless; partnered with Victoria’s Secret for “Christian Siriano for VS Makeup”; created “Christian Siriano for Spiegel,” an edgy, 12-piece line; and designed “Striking by Christian Siriano,” a popularly priced line of blouses, skirts and accessories for the Home Shopping Network.
In 2012, he opened his first 1,000-square-foot store at 252 Elizabeth St. in Manhattan, and, a year later, he was inducted into the Council of Fashion Designers of America. Two years later, he launched his first fragrance, “Silhouette,” a youthful scent inspired by a blue tulle dress from his Spring 2013 collection.
Siriano has collaborated with LG Mobile Phones on the face of the LG Lotus (LX600), a cellular device with a scarf to match; and with Starbucks on a limited edition, wallet-friendly, mini store gift card.
He’s even collaborated with O-Cel-O, a cleaning products company, to design a series of fashionable sponges.
Because when it comes to design, Siriano demonstrates, no one should feel excluded.
Christian Siriano is available at Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdale’s, Bergdorf Goodman and other luxury department stores worldwide. For more about his collection, visit christiansiriano.com. For more about his fragrance, visit christiansirianofragrances.com.