News & Runway

Christian Siriano S/S 2011

While I’d be hard pressed to remember any one of the other Project Runway winners, Christian Siriano has made quite a name for himself since winning his season.

Not only has the 20-something year old designer shown well-attended collections every season since his Project Runway debut (we’re talking Cathy Horyn from the New York Times), he has always managed to attract a handful of celebrities to his shows.

At the Spring/Summer 2011 Christian Siriano show, aside from the actual runway looks, the front row – which included Alan Cumming, Maggie Grace, Katrina Bowden, Leigh Lezark, and Jo Jodrew – attracted most of the attention, along with chatter about Siriano’s numerous commercial partnerships.

In addition to a past make-up collaboration with Victoria's Secret (gift bags included a Victoria's Secret fragrance), Fiji water bottles were being handed out to waiting guests in light of the 40 minute late start, showcasing the designer’s recent collaboration with the brand. Siriano, along with Charlotte Ronson, designed a garment unveiled the morning of his show, inspired by the Fiji water bottle.

It’s Siriano’s teaming with Payless that always garners the most attention, however, and this season the models once again wore shoes made by Siriano and the mass retailer. The problem with the shoes is that they unfortunatly don’t end up looking like what we see on the runway when they hit stores.

Here’s to hoping things are different with this season’s shoes, because they included some sky high, to-die for platform pumps with skewed V-shaped wooden heels. Other shoes featured multiple staps wrapping around the heel, which were closer to works of art than they were to anything one would expect to see from a mass retailer.

As for the clothes, this season Siriano was inspired by Africa, India, and China, which translated into kimono-style cocktail dresses, peplum detailing, wide pants, and ruffles galore. The palette included a deep, saturated red and a number of looks fashioned from luscious prints. Of note, recurring red-heavy and marine blue ones used in both day and night looks. In between was a clingy, Keira Knightley-esque gunmetal gown and a slew of cream, taupe, brown, and white party and day dresses and separates.
It’s impossible to think of the designer without thinking of over-the-top ruffles, and Siriano didn’t disappoint this season with a parade of awe-inducing gowns (literally, there were awes in the audience), that will hopefully be making red carpet appearances in the coming months. Aside from the ruffled and bubble gowns that closed the show, all of which stood out because of the sheer boldness of their craftsmanship, a marine blue strapless dress with ruffled neckline struck me as the most memorable because of its perfect balance of commercial and fashion-forward appeal.