Style & Fashion

New York Fashion Week

New York Fashion Week reviews: Christian Siriano

The Daily Beast

February 12, 2017

A lot is said about diversity: the need for it, and what it really means. Christian Siriano is a designer who speaks about it and practices it, emphatically.

At his beautiful New York Fashion Week show on Saturday afternoon in the grand surroundings of the Plaza Hotel’s ballroom, there was a panoply of sizes and colors. This wasn’t tokenism. There was not one plus-sized model, and a whole bunch of skinny minis, but an equal number of both; models of color as present as white-skinned models.

Underneath the chandeliers, a starry crowd including Juliette Lewis, Janet Mock, Alexa Chung, Alicia Silverstone, and Gigi Gorgeous lapped up a procession of 52 looks.

There was nothing divisive in who were what. The larger models wore stunning, body-fitting black dresses, as did the slimmer ones. Both kinds wore outfits making use of finely detailed brocade.

It would be tough to parse the most stunning outfits: all of them demonstrated Siriano’s inventiveness, boldness, and his belief not just in fashion, but in design.

“For my Fall 2017 collection, I was inspired by the beehive sand formations in the Valley of Fire State Park,” he said. “The grooved lines and unique design created by wind caused a beautiful layered effect that inspired a collection full of powerful silhouettes and strong expressive shapes. The deep clay-colored valley inspired a rich and golden color palette full of open-weave textiles and luxe copper velvets.”

Of particular note was that sequence of copper-colored outfits: turtlenecks, a bralette-top dress, a ruched long-sleeve gob, a satin draped jacket, and flared skirt. There were warm-looking belted coats in auburn, and–just as luxurious-looking (and delicious sounding) frosted almond velvet double breasted jacket. Yes, you may want to have it go.

From trousers to slinky dresses, to fitted shirts with an explosion of material on their fronts, to slim trousers and kickass coats, Siriano also found a new vocabulary for that fashion staple, black. Camp architectural flourishes figured too: on the sides of outfits were odd ruffles, sleeves were occasionally puffed-out–as we have seen elsewhere at NYFW–on the arm and shoulder.

Maroon and mauve also leapt straight out of their familiar boxes marked ‘staid,’ thanks to some inventive cuts, featuring bell sleeves, capes, and intricate beading and lattice-work.

Karolina Kurkova wore the show’s most glittering surprise: a dress that combined all the colors we had seen in diffuse bands and with added sparkle. There was a black dress studded with tassels, that wool look completely amazing when its wearer is dancing.

If this all seemed like too much of a frothy fairytale, then Siriano had a final surprise to add to the message of the diversity of the runway.

A model appeared wearing a T-shirt bearing the slogan “People Are People,” and this as the music segued to Depeche Mode singing precisely that. Not as profane as telling Donald Trump to fuck himself, as at Chromat on Friday, but a message clearly stated nevertheless.

The Plaza’s most famous young resident, Eloise, was nowhere to be seen, but I’d like to think she was watching from behind a pillar, loving every moment.