Despite being a Project Runway fan, I'd be hard pressed to name many past winners aside from Christian Siriano. Even talented past contestants like Leanne Marshall were never quite able to get it together when it came to the non-design aspects of the fashion industry. Siriano has proven to be a very business savvy designer, despite the potential 'uncool' factor that sometimes accompanies being a reality show winner, and the diminutive designer’s oddball pairings with everyone from Fuji water to Starbucks coffee, he has managed to show well-attended collections every season since taking home the grand prize. Even more impressive, Siriano's high-end designs have been picked up by influential stores like Saks Fifth Avenue and Intermix. Unlike past seasons, however, where we saw clouds of ruffles coming down a runway, Fall 2011 was an effort in self-control for Siriano.
It’s no secret that the designer has a penchant for over-the-top draping and copious amounts of ruffles, but all that was reigned in for a moody collection ripe with gray, black, rusty pink, and a jewel-toned green.
Siriano showed off his tailoring skills in gothic Givenchy style with blazers, cropped jackets, and trenches layered over sheer skirts for a mixed texture pop. Later, tailored separates made their way down the runway over skirts ranging from the pencil style to flouncy silhouettes, all paired with high-high platform booties or pumps to tie into the more tough-luxe feel of the collection. Unfortunately, if the amount of mini runway stumbles are to be taken as any indication, the fierce shoes are far from easy to walk in.
Turtlenecks and wide leg belted trousers also popped up and played into some of the emerging trends we’re already seeing this season. As for the designer’s signature gowns and cocktail dresses, there was a welcome mix of understated options (particularly noteworthy was a black floor sweeping gown with a deep back that relied on texture for its eye-catching effect, and a Spring 2011 Jil Sander-esque turtleneck worn with a long black skirt), with wildly embellished ones that veered on the cumbersomely bulky side as evidenced by one of the models having a slight slip.
Photos: Vincenzo Grillo, IMAXtree