Where Are They Now: Christian Siriano


By Gregory Miller

Are you working on any pieces for celebrities right now?
Gosh, we're always doing something. I mean, we just made some things for Sia for her performance in Australia. We're working on some stuff for Estelle. Everyday there's something that comes up. And we also send out from the collection all the time. I dressed Selita Ebanks the other night. We sent things to Kerry Washington. So it's just every day. It comes and goes.

Do you keep in contact with celebrities after you dress them?
Yeah, Christina and I definitely keep a voice together. We'll text each other every now and then. I just sent her a little message saying she looked amazing on Harper's and things like that. You have to, because if it's not personal, it's hard to build a relationship in any way. Definitely Christina's one, and Mena Suvari, Veronica Webb, Maggie Grace -- all those girls -- I try to keep in touch with them as best I can. Otherwise it's just clothes.

The Wall Street Journal called your collection closing paprika-colored dress 'Elmo-like.' What was your inspiration behind that -- was it Elmo?
No, I mean, obviously [laughs]. Actually, a lot of the inspiration came from China. We took these old Chinese lanterns that were made of paper, and that's how it was inspired.These shapes from the lantern were kind of sculptural and weird. They almost looked like coral in a way. They were all made from paper, and we wanted to give that kind of light, airy feeling, but very sculptural. The Wall Street Journal's review was very good and then they said that. So you're kind of like, "What does that mean? Is it being funny?" You kind of don't know. And then, on the other hand, after the show that dress was pulled by some really amazing people. So you have to take one thing and move on from it.

Why do you continue to partner with Payless for lines when you're already so successful on your own?
Payless is a big part of my success in a way. It was really funding so much of the business, first off. It's also such a great way for my fan base -- a lot of my fans are younger and they can't afford my clothing -- so it's a way that they can get a piece of the brand. So that's kind of why I do it. And they're so amazing to work with. We basically create anything I want, which is kind of amazing.

Tim Gunn once called you the next generation's Marc Jacobs. Do you feel pressure to live up to that?
[Laughs] Sometimes. I feel pressure coming from a show and starting my career in a different way than other designers. It's hard to make it in a business like this and an industry that's very closed. So when Tim says things like that, it's hard. But it's also amazing and such a great compliment. The best of both worlds.

Do you ever feel like people write you off because you got your start in reality TV?
Yes and no. I think what people don't realize is that I went to design school in London. I worked at [Alexander] McQueen, I worked at [Vivienne] Westwood. It wasn't a reality show to me, it was a design competition -- which is hard because people get stuck in this world because so many reality shows are trash. I think that's the sad part, but that's why I keep going and doing collections and building the business. You have to prove them wrong.

For more on Christian Siriano, visit his official website and follow him on Twitter.

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Tags: Out100 2010