“Fashion is about taking risks, having fun with what you wear and having your own personality,” says designer and Project Runway tour de force Christian Siriano. There’s no doubt that Siriano has personality of his own and then some. Ever since he gained fame as the winner of the fourth season of Project Runway and catapulted said fame into the launch of his first collection in 2008, Siriano has been a piping-hot designer. He’s dressed legions of stars including Sarah Jessica Parker, Emily Blunt, Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift, Fergie, Nicki Minaj and more — all while staying humble and sweet. At the ripe old age of 27, he’s already been inducted as a member of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), opened a flagship namesake store on Elizabeth Street in New York City, and if that’s not enough, Oprah Winfrey has referred to his designs as “works of art.” We caught up with the designer on Sept. 5, 2013, as he was prepping to show his spring 2014 collection at New York Fashion Week and celebrating the one-year anniversary of his shop.
I try and get out of bed on time because last night I was up late going over music, last look ideas for the collection and worrying about last minute details for the show on Saturday.
Feed the puppies and give them some playtime. Topper our oldest dog just had surgery and still needs a ton of attention until his full recovery which might not be for a few months. My partner Brad Walsh takes very good care of him while I’m working away on the collection.
Arrive at my office and we have our last few models to fit right away, which is always a crazy way to start a day. I walk in the door, and there are a million questions to be answered and decisions to make. Today we will also start to really style the clothes, choose the shoes, bags and go through the hair and makeup tests.
I like to take the time to really look over each piece. I review all the photos from the day before so I can really see how the clothes photograph and look on the body.
The sample room comes out with one of the last show pieces, finished and ready for the runway. It’s so beautiful, I’m getting really excited for the show now and I can’t wait to see it all come to life.
Usually this is snack time in the office, and we love to eat junk food these last few days leading up to the show.
It’s a working lunch with the team as we have a birthday in the house. So we try to take a few minutes to celebrate. It’s very hard to focus with so many things on my mind, but I try to have a little bit of fun. I know that in only a few hours I will need to be downtown at my store to celebrate our one-year anniversary. I have a great staff at my store so I know they are making sure the clothing looks perfect and the new items are all in place.
Chat with the pattern maker to make sure our custom dress for one of our brides is coming along and going in the right direction. Even though it’s fashion week and the show is days away I could never neglect the other exciting parts of the business. It’s important to wear many hats in my office and always be available to answer questions and help make design decisions.
We have to fit our last model Svea who I love so much and was in my recent resort collection. Danielle, my stylist, and I go through each look and choose shoes. I have been working with Payless on our design collaboration since 2008, and I really love the shoes we created for the runway. They are chic and cool. Sometimes this can take hours to pick what shoes go with what look. We both think a shoe can make or break an outfit, and it’s really important that they look so fresh and put together.
It’s time for my hair and makeup test. I’m so excited to be working with some new and exciting partners this season. I’m partnering with Sebastian professional, and Anthony Cole has arrived to start the look for the hair. We are not sure what the final look will be so I want to try a few styles on our model Anna Schilling to see what will complement the clothes. After all that’s what it’s all about.
After the hair test is complete it’s time for the makeup. I’m thrilled to be working with Hourglass Cosmetics, and one of my favorite makeup artists, Polly Osmond. She is such a talent and we have been working together since my first collection. I know we will come up with something fresh and chic for spring 2014. This will be the first time we get to see the full look head-to-toe come together, and that is a very exciting moment. It’s usually when I feel most at ease about the collection.
Now that the hair and makeup is set for runway day, I can check final looks as my team starts to do all the finishing touches on the clothes. Next step is to head down to my store for our event. My sales director and the rest of the sales team raid the clothes for something to wear for the party. It’s always a great moment when we can stop for a few minutes and play dress up. It makes a very long week feel a little bit easier to handle.
We’ve arrived at my store, and I can’t wait to see friends, family and clients. It’s a great moment for any young brand to see its first retail adventure still standing one year later. This store has been a ton of work, but I’m very proud of it and I hope it will last forever.
The anniversary party at my store has started and we have so many people running around the store. Clothes are all over the place, and I think everyone is enjoying themselves. Moet was kind enough to send me a few cases of Champagne so I think that helped set the mood right away as you walk in the door. The music is loud and clients are loving the new fall collection. I created so many accessories for this celebration that are exclusive to my store, which was a hit –and all under $120. Even if a customer walks away with a $50 candle, I’m happy. I really hope they enjoyed a fun shopping experience because that’s what it’s all about and why I get up every day and do what I do. It’s to make women feel great about themselves in clothes.
The party is winding down, and there are so many fashion week events to attend. I’m just happy people are able to fit it in their busy schedule. I think it was a great success and on to another great year. I feel like I really need to sleep soon because tomorrow is the day before the show and usually is the longest day of the season.
Late dinner after a very long party and relaxing time at home with the puppies. Helping women shop always makes me hungry; it’s a workout.
Catching up on emails and listening to the runway show music that Brad has almost completed. It’s fun and I can’t wait to hear it live.
Late night texting with an important private client to make sure her clothes are ready for her event coming this fall. The work never really ends.
Finally bed time, and I can’t wait to get up and do it all over again. Each day new adventures come about, and that’s what I love about this business. You never know what that call can be about tomorrow.