Christian Siriano Reveals Why He Continued Having Fashion Shows Throughout the Pandemic
While some designers hit pause over the course of the pandemic, trading their typical in-person fashion shows for digital alternatives, Christian Siriano never missed a beat. For Spring 2021, he even invited a smaller crowd to hang out in his own backyard, turning it into runway, and since then, has continued to keep Covidd safety precautions in place. It's a move that allowed the red carpet favorite to do what he does best: showcase his gorgeous creations in a fun, playful way, and gather all the women he loves to dress, from celebrities, to editors, to loyal customers.
"I'm like, I can't do it," he tells InStyle backstage at his Fall 2022 show, when asked about never taking break. "I have to remind people that fashion's so hard — we never know what's going to happen tomorrow. We all really are understanding that now, I think. And, for us, it's like, if I don't have shows, or I don't do this fantasy world, or bring someone into a Victorian Matrix underground in the Empire State Building, then all I'm doing is sitting at my office, talking about bills and what is going to happen in fashion. I don't want to do that. I'm just not interested in that. That's why I always fill my shows with my customers — people who are shopping, people who love my world. So, that's what we're going to do."
Siriano says his shows are also meant to be an escape from everyday life. After all, where else can you view elaborate ball gowns, ruffled tops, cutouts, and more alongside the likes of an energetic Drew Barrymore and a well-dressed dog, Tika the Iggy?
"Why do we go see a Broadway show? Or why do we go see a concert?" he asks. "I think fashion should kind of be the same thing."
For Fall 2022, Siriano definitely went above and beyond creativity-wise, dubbing this new collection the Victorian Matrix. The theme was inspired by today's feeling of living both in a version of the past (Victorian times) and the future (the Matrix), and that story was told through color, fabrics, and shapes.
"Inky blue kind of came from the Matrix and the idea of this computer screen blue," he tells InStyle about one of the more prominent color families in the collection. "That's kind of where it started, and then it just evolved into this feeling — almost kind of like it was literally off the screen, electric."
Plus, if you've seen even a small snippet of the show, it likely included all the voluminous Victorian-inspired gowns, which we're hoping to see on the red carpet in the near future. (The Oscars, perhaps?)
"This is lace, but it's all quilted, Siriano explains. "It's very tech, but still in a romantic, beautiful silhouette, and hopefully people really will see that. There's also this liquid latex. The fabrics were very important."
Part of what makes Siriano so successful in his chosen career is that he's no longer paying attention to the critics. He tells InStyle that he's begun focusing more on what he and his customers want, and that kind attitude has truly paid off.
"I still try to try new things. I definitely think I do that every season — I take risks, and they sometimes work and sometimes don't," he says. "But I kind of started just making clothes that I love and what I think our customer would really want. It might not impress every fashion person in the business and that's okay — I've decided that's okay. We're still here, and I want to keep my lights on and not go out of business."