xml:space="preserve">
xml:space="preserve">
Advertisement
Advertisement

For Christian Siriano, dressing celebs like Taylor Swift is the new normal

Annapolis native Christian Siriano showcased his spring 2016 collection at New York Fashion Week. The 29-year-old has also risen to prominence off the red carpet, with a star-studded client list and a bevy of retail deals rolling in.
Annapolis native Christian Siriano showcased his spring 2016 collection at New York Fashion Week. The 29-year-old has also risen to prominence off the red carpet, with a star-studded client list and a bevy of retail deals rolling in. (Jason DeCrow / Associated Press)

Christian Siriano knows the importance of seizing an opportunity.

Maybe that's why his schedule leading up to the debut of his spring-summer collection at New York Fashion Week appeared so frenetic.

Advertisement

Amid model castings, fine-tuning clothing and addressing event details, the 29-year-old Annapolis native was also doing last-minute fittings for custom Emmy gowns for "Orange is the New Black" actresses Laura Prepon and Danielle Brooks. (Siriano estimates that he sent about 50 pieces for Emmy-related events to actresses including Jackie Cruz of "Orange is the New Black" and Lauren Adams of "The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.")

"We were doing fittings the day before my show," he said. "It was quite a challenge because Emmys are never this close to Fashion Week."

Advertisement
Advertisement

The "Project Runway" alum did all this while expanding his fashion offerings to four times a year — he's currently working on a pre-fall collection — and getting clothes to celebrities, like a gown worn by Taylor Swift in her "Wildest Dreams" music video and a dozen pieces that will appear on the Fox show "Scream Queens."

Siriano has also been promoting his Silhouette fragrance. He also debuted an accessories collection for Best Buy late last month that features cases under $60 for smartphones, tablets and laptops. He has a partnership with Payless ShoeSource, too.

If that wasn't enough, Siriano received an email two weeks ago, from actress Vanessa L. Williams requesting a gown for an event. Siriano immediately arranged a fitting with Williams, whom he had last seen almost six years ago when he did a cameo on "Ugly Betty."

During Williams' visit, he learned that she wanted a dress for her return to the Miss America pageant, a competition she had not attended since resigning her title in 1984.

Advertisement

"She didn't want a pageant dress," he said. "She said, 'I want it to look different than all the other dresses at the pageant.'"

Williams picked a one-shoulder ombre gown. It was the first gown Williams tried on, and she immediately loved it, according to Siriano.

"That's what I love about an old-school actress. There is no fuss. These young girls drive me crazy," he said with a laugh.

"It was amazing," he said. "It was so wonderful for her to think of me. She has so many designers for her to chose."

For Siriano, the satisfaction of pleasing a celebrity customer and expanding his brand far outweighs busy days and sleepless nights.

"It's hard to say no," he said. "I think to myself, 'What if the opportunity doesn't come around a year later?'"

Ambition and dedication come at a cost.

"I'm not fully sane yet," he said this week during "market," a time when designers present their collection to buyers with the hopes of having their designs picked up and sold in stores and boutiques. Next week, he'll head to Mexico City to participate in a fashion show for Google and then to Paris to show his collection and meet with buyers.

"I have some very intense days," he said. "But my thing is, this is my opportunity. This is my time to do things."

His work has not gone unnoticed.

He was named to Forbes' "30 Under 30 List for Art & Style" in 2015 after making $6.5 million from his clothing line alone, according to the magazine.

Siriano has been keeping a list of his own. For years, he has logged a running list of accomplishments in his head that he wanted to complete by 30. With less than two months to his birthday, he said, he's checked off almost every one.

"I think I've had my limit," he said.

But then he rattled off an eyewear collection with Eyefly that will debut this spring; a spring collaboration with Lane Bryant for a line of clothes for plus-sized women; and his plans to showcase plus-sized clothing options in his pre-fall collection, which will debut in December.

"That's really it," he said. "We have some other things in the works, but that's it right now."

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement