Virtual Programming: Christian Siriano on activism and creativity amid the coronavirus
A designer, activist and entrepreneur, CHRISTIAN SIRIANO is best known as a former winning contestant and now mentor on Bravo's hit Project Runway. Amid the coronavirus, he has emerged as a leading activist and voice on how to make a positive impact. Responding to the health crisis, Siriano converted his fashion house into a face mask factory; a move which garnered him a profile in The New Yorker, and made headlines in W Magazine, People, and more. A master of engaging virtual audiences, Siriano was sought-out for a TIME 100 Virtual Talk on the power of pivots—specifically, how industry leaders are evolving to meet the challenges of this moment; engaged in a live zoom conversation for Rebelle Con about how he and his business is adapting to 2020, and appeared as a virtual guest on The Kelly Clarkson Show and Good Morning America.
Following his studies in London under Vivienne Westwood and Alexander McQueen, Christian Siriano launched his eponymous collection in 2008. The Christian Siriano collection is shown each season at New York Fashion Week and presented in New York and Paris to retailers. Known for whimsical and show-stopping design – from fantasy evening gowns and cocktail dresses to tailored sportswear, intricately detailed shoes, and accessories – the collection can be found at department stores and specialty boutiques around the globe. In 2012, the first flagship Christian Siriano store opened in New York City, and in 2013 he was inducted as a member of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA). He celebrated his 10-year brand anniversary with a milestone show for his Fall 2018 Collection in February that featured a lineup of 72 jaw-dropping looks – including dramatic tulle ball gowns, patent leather, crystal encrusted dresses, headpieces, and much more.
Dubbed "the new king of old-school glamour" by Elle and "the next billion-dollar designer" by Yahoo! Style, his designs have appeared on the world's biggest stars and most prestigious red carpets. He counts entertainment's leading ladies as clients, from stars of film (Angelina Jolie, Scarlett Johansson, Julianne Moore, Viola Davis, Amy Adams, Drew Barrymore, Lupita Nyong'o, Gwyneth Paltrow, Sarah Jessica Parker, Shailene Woodley, Emily Blunt) to icons of music (Rihanna, Jennifer Lopez, Celine Dion, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift, Nicki Minaj, Carrie Underwood) to stars of television (Kerry Washington, Tina Fey, Jessica Lange, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Emma Roberts, Christina Hendricks, Heidi Klum, Oprah Winfrey) and icons of fashion (First Lady Michelle Obama, Victoria Beckham, Alexa Chung, Dita Von Teese, Kate Upton, Ashley Graham, Coco Rocha, Gigi & Bella Hadid, Chrissy Teigen), to name just a few.
Christian Siriano is the youngest person to ever appear on the Crain's “40 Under 40” list and was a member of Forbes' "30 Under 30" in 2015. He was named “Designer of the Year” at the 2016 AAFA American Image Awards and won the Couture For A Cause “Designer of the Decade” award that same year. He co-founded accessories e- commerce retailer “Send the Trend” and served as Chief Curator until its acquisition by QVC. In April 2018, Siriano was named among Time’s 100 Most Influential People in the World. Time lauded Siriano for being a pioneer in body positivity and runway diversity in the fashion industry.
Christian Siriano also designs seasonal collections of affordable shoes and handbags for Payless Shoe Source, an ongoing guest designer collaboration since 2009. In 2016 he designed a collaboration collection for Lane Bryant. Other design partnerships have included beauty collections with Victoria’s Secret and E.L.F. Cosmetics, and clothing and/or accessories with HSN, Disney, Nordstrom, Best Buy, Puma, Starbucks, Spiegel, and others. Since
2014 he’s launched three fragrances, "Silhouette," "Silhouette in Bloom", and “Intimate” and just launched his fourth in November 2018, “People Are People”, alongside a powerful new image to inspire social activism. The unisex scent is designed to encourage all people to celebrate diversity, positivity, and political unity. When shooting the imagery for the fragrance, Christian wanted to capture one indelible image of a diverse group of people that embrace their beauty and stand strong for their beliefs. He called on friends who he admired for their advocacy, activism, and ability to use their voice to leverage their platform for greater good. Christian Siriano intimates, eyewear, home/bedding, and beauty collections all launched in 2015 and 2016. He released a photographic retrospective with Rizzoli Books in late 2017, titled Dresses to Dream About, which has now gone into its second printing.
He also expanded his ever-growing fashion empire with the debut of his newest retail venture, “The Curated NYC”. Located in the heart of midtown and steps from 5th Avenue and Central Park, this shop highlights clothing, shoes, handbags, and accessories from the Christian Siriano collection as well as various other designers. A retail experience for the modern day, the shopping destination allows each designer to control all product within the store based on customer’s needs and wants from season to season, thus no longer being dictated by a buyer. The store features a wide array of price points for all customers and a diverse mix of size availability within each brand. The eight-floor building also holds Siriano’s atelier and offices as well as the Joye & Rose coffee shop and will eventually feature a vegan café on the rooftop with delicacies created by actress Alicia Silverstone.
Most recently, Siriano signed on to take over as mentor for the upcoming reboot of Project Runway, which is returning to its original network, Bravo, in 2019.