Fashion designer Christian Siriano is one of America’s most beloved fashion designers. He first won our hearts with his memorable performances on Project Runway, where he threw shade like no other and cut his way to the top, one fierce and fabulous frock at a time. Now in his 10th year as head of his own label, the most successful graduate of the Project Runway franchise has built his success on dressing women of all colors, shapes and sizes and fully diversifying his runway presentations into inspirational, aspirational and attainable symbols of beauty and style.
Though Siriano himself is as petite as they come, he knows that the fashion struggle is real for people whose proportions, personalities or orientations are not the “norm” on the retail floor or red carpet. Maybe that’s why he’s been so nimble at dressing die-hard fans like EGOT Whoopi Goldberg, who sat front-row at his show Saturday, along with rap “it” girl Cardi B, dressed head to toe in a money-green suit with a white mink stole tossed over her shoulder for good measure. Both were there to applaud the 10th year of his superluxe ready-to-wear collection.
But Siriano’s work just isn’t for the rich and famous; we can all walk in designer shoes from the collection he personally designs for Payless, or slide into a sheath from his ongoing collaboration with plus-size retailer Lane Bryant. Siriano does runway regality at real prices just as well as he does high-fashion fantasy, but what was on his runway yesterday was simply one wow moment after another.
Brilliant colors ruled Siriano’s fall-winter collection—crimson reds, fuchsia pinks and Cinderella blue, rippling with ruffles from shoulders to hem, and tiers of tulle that opened up from the back of the dresses like the plumage of a magnificent African bird. Even the suits were lush—made of velvet embedded with tiny crystals, which struck the perfect balance between flashy details and froufrou femininity —something that I’m all for, by the way—especially when those elements are rendered with witty restraint and a sophisticated silhouette.
And as if the clothes weren’t breathtaking enough, here’s a Hall of Fame of the beautiful faces and figures that Siriano has so brilliantly dressed in his decade of making the runway a reality for women who love fashion—and the fashion designer who loves them back.