Following his studies in London under Vivienne Westwood and Alexander McQueen, CFDA member Christian Siriano launched his collection in 2008. Known for show-stopping evening gowns to tailored sportswear – the collection can be found at retailers around the world and his flagship store in New York city.
Dubbed “the new king of old-school glamour” by Elle and “next billion-dollar designer” by Yahoo! Style his designs have appeared on the world’s biggest stars such as Lupita Nyong’o, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Hudson, Lady Gaga, Sarah Jessica Parker, Taylor Swift, and Rihanna to name a few.
He also designs four seasonal collections of shoes and handbags for Payless ShoeSource. Other partnerships have included clothing and accessories with Lane Bryant, Best Buy, HSN, and a bridal collection with Kleinfeld.
You have been a designer that has taken the fashion industry by storm. Tell us a little bit about your journey.
My journey has been a really interesting one. I think very different from most designers. I started with a instant fan and customer and had no product to give them so I had to act fast and grow quickly. I just jumped right into making full collections an pushing the boundaries with collaborations and working with high end and mass market companies to really get a sense of what my customer wants on all levels.
I have worked in the industry for almost 10 years now and my collections grow every season and I just love to try new and exciting things. I think fashion is a great business but can be also a really hard one to succeed in. There is so much competition and it can be very hard to be on par with some of the biggest brands in the world. I try to take it one day at a time and just hope that everything I’m creating my customer will love no matter what if its not for everyone it just needs to be for the right people. I am still a young designer and still growing and not everyone supports me but I’m happy for the ones that do!
What are you often influenced by to create your pieces, whether it is for a private client, a celebrity, or a collection for fashion week?
I really am influenced by everything when creating and designing. I can be inspired by plants, animals, a trip I took, furniture, anything. I then try to infuse that into my work as much as I can but still make modern and interesting clothing.
From your genesis in designing wedding gowns to you’re collaboration with Kleinfeld, the pinnacle of bridal wear, how has your view on bridal wear/bridal fashion changed?
I love wedding gowns and always have. I have been doing custom for years and love that now Kleinfeld is going to be my new partner in this business. I think brides now have a much more savvy then before. They keep up with fashion, celebrity, and they are more willing to try new things and take risks. Which is so exciting for a designer like myself who is trying to modernize things a bit.
What is your philosophy for designing for brides?
I think its all about the customer no matter what when designing for a bride. Try and make sure its what she wants and celebrate that! I think that why my collections are diverse. We need a lot of options because every bride is different. One might love satin and the next can’t stand it so you need to be open to trying all kinds of shapes and fabrics.
How would you describe your Kleinfeld collection? What inspired you?
I really wanted the collection to offer something for every type of bride and any age and any size. We have something for every woman and I love that about the collection. I still wanted it to feel romantic, dream-like but very chic and modern at the same time.
What kind of bride are you looking to reach?
I am looking to reach every bride out there hopefully who wants a designer gown. That’s really it. No rules it can be anyone and everyone.
Color and fabric is like a filter. They can change emotion and context and can override form and shape. How did you decide on incorporating the fabrics and/or colors you chose for these new bridal, fashion forward pieces?
I love color and hope to add more color as I do more bridal collections. I think color is emotional and always will be. Color is symbolic for so many women. White is about purity and pink can be about romance. I think they are perfect matches when it comes to finding a great wedding dress.
What is your favorite piece from your Kleinfeld collection?
I love some of the simple crepe dress with beaded collars. I think they are just so elegant and chic. I also love the pink ombre gown as well. Its is just exciting and fun and its nice to have a little fun with fashion when we can.
You have had other collaborations, such as Nordstroms and PayLess. What makes this collaboration with Kleinfeld special for you?
I love collaborating with other brands it’s such an exciting challenge for myself as a designer. I think with Kleinfeld I still get to be completely myself and they just let me create what I want to create and that’s a great thing. A lot like what I’m doing with Lane Bryant and that collection launches April 28th and I can’t wait for all types of women to be able to wear my clothes.
What is an important facet in deigning for brides that the bridal industry should be made aware of?
I think when designing for brides you just need to understand no matter what its an emotional experience and can be a difficult one. It just is part of the process and no matter what if a bride isn’t loving every dress she puts on it isn’t so personal to the deign it just needs to feel right.