During the Spring-Summer 2011 shows, I said that Christian Siriano was one of the most prolific and talented young designers out there today, and I still stand behind that statement. The day after his FW11 show last week, the New York Times published a short and sweet article that referenced how his success came through unconventional means, and it's true that to many people he's still the catch-phrase carrying winner of Project Runway Season 4, but, more importantly, I really feel that with each season, his style has become more refined, and his craft more precise.
I think being the same age as Christian (okay, I'm all of 5 months younger) might have a bit to do with how passionately I feel about his success, and without knowing him well, I even feel a bit of pride for him. Going through the motions in a conventional way (high school, college-with-a-"practical"-major, internships, 9-5/Monday-Friday jobs), is not necessarily how people are going to find success in our generation. There are a lot of people who can prove that - from singers who got signed through YouTube notoriety to bloggers who have landed campaigns with top fashion houses to graffiti artists and street taggers who have solo exhibitions in London and Paris and Milan. Shall we give a nod to American Idol contestants of seasons past? I've heard Kelly Clarkson's songs in so many gay clubs I barely remember her reality show roots and Carrie Underwood was nominated for a Grammy... A Grammy! So, for a genuinely talented 25-year-old, who has worked with some of the world's most acclaimed designers (Vivienne Westwood and Alexander McQueen, just FYI) to be dismissed because he had a stint on a reality show? Please.
He does things with fabric that make me fall in love with fashion over and over again - and to see his aesthetic evolve and become more discerning over the last several years is a joy. While my own achievements are hardly anything in comparison, it does serve as a bit of a reminder of how much any of us can grow if we put in the effort, dedication, hard-work, and will to think outside-of-the-box in how we approach the success that we want to see in ourselves.
Anyways, back to the collection. I honestly loved all 36 looks in the show. I'm not just saying that. I can think of a purpose and occasion for which I'd happily wear every single one, but I did definitely have some standout favorites - IE anything that involved black & sheer. The first few looks, with their long, floating, diaphanous skirts and structured blazers? God. I'd wear them today, albeit with a pair of 10-ply leggings, because it's still freezing out. (Side note: I've noticed a lot of ladies with bare legs running around NYFW. How? Seriously.) And the gowns... These are the very things that actually send me into weird childlike nuptial daydreams (and I would be the femme to get married in a sheer, draped, asymmetrical gown with floral detailing, or a dusty rose cloud with a just-barely-nipple-baring bodice). Being the lover of black and monochrome that I am, the mostly dark color palette with punches of olive and mauve added just enough color to lighten up the severity of the black pieces, without making me yearn for austerity by employing an absurd rainbow palette that I've seen in a few other FW11 collections; (not naming-names, but I truly believe in editing, and think there is such a thing as too much color in a single, cohesive collection).
Long story short, I need to start collecting those pennies dispersed throughout my apartment to shop some of these looks. Cold weather be damned, I think a sheer maxi skirt paired with a glossy double-breasted jacket is essential.
Photos by me; Canon 5D with 50mm lens