Project Runway alum Christian Siriano has designed dresses for First Lady Michelle Obama, Ashley Graham, Queen Latifah, Lea Michele, among many more A-list celebrities. Since his success on Project Runway, the designer used his talents to create his own brand, designing dresses for Kristin Chenoweth and her new Broadway show, My Love Letter to Broadway, and he’s even partnered with Lane Bryant.
Siriano spoke with Celebuzz about what it was like to design for the First Lady, why he’s driven to design red carpet looks for women of all sizes, his fun new project with Hershey’s Chocolate World in Manhattan and his holiday plans.
Read the full interview below:
Celebuzz: Since we’re at the height of the holiday season, do you have any special holiday plans?
Christian Siriano: Nothing too crazy. I chill with my family and try to actually relax because we go straight into awards season right after and it gets very busy.
CB: Tell us about your designs that will appear in the windows of Hershey’s Chocolate World in Times Square for millions to see this holiday season. Where did you find inspiration for this project?
CS: It was really exciting, we were inspired by Hershey’s Holiday Kisses and their new foils. I just thought they were really playful and whimsical. I really wanted my window designs to feel the same. If you’re walking down the street you’d be like, “Wow, this is beautiful. This is interesting, I want to go in and be transformed into a different world.” I always think that when you go into a store during the holidays it’s like you’re in another world. I think that’s a great thing. They’re holiday-themed, inspired by Christmas sweaters and Santa hats and Christmas trees and presents. I wanted to make them a little more stylish and cool for the windows.
CB: Do you craft your own gifts for friends and family during the holidays?
CS: I’m a pretty good random shopper! I buy things everywhere and anywhere. I’m pretty creative, I’ve been known to give some really fabulous gifts. I’ve sent my mom on a cruise a couple times. I buy really random things. I have a nephew now so I get REALLY crazy with toys. It’s fun, giving gifts to family, it’s always a fun thing. My sister and mom always get a lot of clothes and a lot of shoes.
CB: You must be so excited for your latest collection to launch this month! Tell us a little about your inspiration and what we can expect to see on the runway.
CS: We just showed our Pre-Fall collection, and then we show for Fashion week in February, right after the holidays. It comes up very, very quickly. Honestly, I’m still working on the collection for February’s show. We’re playing with it. The Pre-Fall was inspired by this really beautiful polish painter who paints ballerinas. It was really romantic, ethereal, very lady and pretty. I think my show come February is going to be a little more edgy and darker. It comes organically as it comes along.
CB: You designed two dresses for First Lady Michelle Obama, including the dress she wore to the Democratic National Convention. What was your vision for this dress and how did the First Lady respond to it?
CS: It was one of those things. Already it’s an honor to make clothes for her; she’s such an amazing woman. It’s one of those things… you never know what’s going to work and what she’s going to love, but I think as long as she feels great in the clothes, that’s all I care about. The dresses were quite simple but powerful in her own way.
CB: I’m obsessed with that stunning pink gown you designed for Kristin Chenoweth! Do you plan on designing costumes for more Broadway shows in the future?
CS: I’ve never really done a full Broadway show like that, so it was a new project. I’m a huge fan of Kristin Chenoweth. I think she’s amazing, I love her. It was also different because it was only her and it was a short run. We got to have fun. She wore a giant pink ballgown, a sequin jumpsuit and pink suit and it was really fun and exciting to try something different. To see the clothes in movement on stage was really nice, too.
CB: Out of all the different occasions and people you design for, which one was your favorite?
CS: I like to make people feel good. Whatever they’re going to whatever it is, we just have to make sure it’s the right fit and the right moment and then we’ll be on board.
CB: You are leading the fashion industry in terms of designing for women of different shapes, sizes, and races. Just by taking a look at your Instagram you’ve designed for stars like Ashley Graham, Janelle Monae, Queen Latifah, and Lea Michele. What excites you the most about seeing your designs on such a diverse group of women?
CS: That’s my favorite part about being a designer. I think that you’re a good designer when you can make every type of woman look good. I think that’s the test. That’s what’s great; that’s what fashion should be. I also think that’s what people are. People out there buying the clothes are all different types of people, so we should be able to dress all different types of people. And it’s fun, I love it! I love seeing someone like Queen Latifah wear gowns I made for them, and someone like Lea Michele [wear them as well]. Two totally different types of women, but how fabulous!? It’s the best part of my day.
CB: With this year coming to a close, what were your favorite parts about 2016, fashion-wise?
CS: 2016 was a crazy year, we did a lot of things. I think the red carpet really changed. I think a lot of women were taking more risks, we saw a lot of pants and suits and matte on the red carpet. For me personally, we launched a vegan handbag line, we launched the collection with Lane Bryant, we had so many partnerships this year, it was different and exciting. Every designer, especially this year, is kinda doing their own thing and making their own voice, I think that’s what it should be. We all need to find our own path and make it work for ourselves.
CB:What are you looking forward to career-wise in 2017?
CS: Nothing too crazy, we’re going to be opening a new store in New York. Other than that, there are so many projects in the works. We’ll see how it goes!
You can see Siriano’s latest designs on his website here.