Fashion

Q & A with Christian Siriano

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A few weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to attend the Christian Siriano x Lane Bryant fashion show and charity event at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. It was a wonderful event for a wonderful cause. Christian Siriano’s collection for Lane Bryant was modeled by staff members of the hospital, while the Justice spring collection was modeled by patients at the hospital. It was so inspiring watching all the girls walk the runway, so much so that I was actually moved to tears. It was an incredible evening.

That yellow caftan dress, though!! #swoon

Before the fashion show, I got to sit down one-on-one with Christian Siriano in the flesh (I still can’t even believe it happened!). Luckily, just before the interview, I downloaded an audio recorder app, because I have no recollection of my conversation with him. I was totally fangirling…and my audio recording proves it! Ha!

Katy (me): So tell me where you found the inspiration for this collection with Lane Bryant.

Christian: Well, I guess it was a mix. I mean, like fabrics and colors came from 1950s and 1960s malt shops, diners, we took kind of like a vintage feel, but modern, and then other than that it was just about celebrating, like, I just wanted the collection to feel super bright and powerful and I wanted a lot of different silhouettes so every type of woman could find something- that if she didn’t like everything in the collection, she could still find that one great piece.

K: Many of my readers have been commenting telling me to thank you for creating this collection with Lane Bryant. They love it, and they wanted me to say thanks because they are so happy that there are affordable and pretty options for plus-size sizes.

C: That’s good. I love it. That’s good! I had a lot of fun creating it.

K: How did the collaboration come about with the hospital in particular, to create this charity event?

C: Well, because Lane Bryant is such a big supporter of the hospital, and Linda, the COO, asked me if I would come here and show the collection. We just showed the collection at the UN, so she was like, do you want to recreate that same thing, and I said sure! I thought it was amazing, it’s amazing what they’re doing for all the kids here, and they’re so fun and have such great spirits. That’s really nice to see. And also, you know, sometimes fashion can be super frivolous, and this is a nice way to give back.  K: What is your favorite part of your job?

C: I think it’s just fun, you know, creating. I love to just create things in general. It’s just something that I love to do, and I love to see when women wear something and they feel really good in it. It’s just nice. It’s a great feeling. And then it’s nice to see other people compliment them, because then they feel better. And that’s really fun to watch behind the scenes. I don’t know, it’s just one of those things as a designer that’s fun to see- other people complimenting each other.

K: So, I feel like among my readers and a lot of the blogs I like to read, we’re pretty average-sized, say maybe sizes 6-10. So, you have your New York Fashion Week that’s for really tall, skinny model types-

C: No! That collection is for everyone! We do full sizes.

K: Yes! We love that you do that. It doesn’t seem like there are many designers that do that. So, for those of us who sometimes feel kind of unsure how to dress our body type or feel kind of alienated because there’s super skinny NYFW on one hand, and, on the other hand, there seems to be a great community for plus-sized women from what I’ve seen on social media, what are your top 3 pieces of style advice?

C: I mean, my thing is, it’s hard. If you’re shy or you’re just not used to certain things, that’s why my whole collection is super colorful. Because even some of the bigger pieces are quite simple, but it’s the color that makes them exciting, so I think that alone is easy to translate. I also think it’s nice to just try fabrics that maybe you’ve never really worn before- that’s why I try to use fabrics that are a little bit different, and I try to use things that have a little bit of transparency because I think that can be really, really flattering. But yeah, it’s hard. If you’re shy, it’s hard to take risks. But, I think baby steps and sometimes just a cool fabrication can change a little black dress. You know, that great black shirtdress we did [in the Lane Bryant collection] is kind of classic, but I think the fabric makes it more interesting. So, it’s like taking those little risks.

K: What is one “pinch-me” moment from your career that really stands out, like when you sat back and realized “Oh my gosh, I’ve officially made it.”

C: I mean, every day is something new, so it’s always exciting. This was a great moment, doing this collection and showing it at the UN the other day was really cool and such a great moment. But so many- Oprah, that was really great, and when I opened my first store- that was amazing. Just everything, but it all kind of goes together. Each thing helps each other and builds off one another, and that’s the best part. [laughing] Until I get really sick of it, and then be done.

K: So, along with that, we always see you all over the red carpets. You have dressed some really big celebrities! Is there anyone in particular that you haven’t worked with yet that you would really love to design something for?

C: Yeah, I mean, there are so many people all the time that I love that I haven’t really worked with yet. I’m a big fan of Julianne Moore. I just love her, so I would say she is probably my number one next goal to work with.

K: What is one must-have item that every woman should have in her wardrobe?

C: I would pick a really chic, cotton shirtdress, like the one from this collection.

K: Do you have a favorite Instagram account to follow?

C: Oh, oh my gosh. It’s probably something cheesy. Not really, I…maybe Justin Bieber because it’s just fun.

K: Oh, I will have to check that out. I don’t think I follow him.

C: It’s really not that good, but I just think he’s cute and interesting. Or maybe Rihanna- it’s really funny. She’s funny. She’s kind of like, dirty graphic, but it’s funny to follow.

K: When you start designing a new collection, where do you turn for inspiration? Is it different each time?

C: Yeah, it’s really random. It can be anything. It can be- I have no idea. I never know where it comes from. It’s just all of a sudden, and it’s very interesting. It just happens in the moment. You never know. Architecture, furniture, some of the places I’ve been. Yeah, it’s so interesting how things come up. I guess that’s good- I never run out of ideas.

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Since my runway photography skills are seriously lacking (that lighting is tricky!!), you can view and shop the entire collection here. Thanks to all of you who submitted questions for Christian via email and social media, and huge thank yous to the Lane Bryant & Paul Wilmot PR teams for this amazing opportunity and Christian Siriano for sitting down with little ol’ me for an interview!

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