Before Christian Siriano marries his partner at their Connecticut home this summer, he has a bridal collection to unveil at Kleinfeld this month.
The details of his own nuptials are still in flux, save for the location, which he declined to pinpoint to “keep the crazies away. It will be nothing special, just chill, friends and family.” Siriano said. “I must say it’s been pretty wedding-heavy for the past couple of months. But bridal is actually a nice break. Fashion is a tough business. But the wedding industry, even though brides are so intense and crazy, is just nicer. People appreciate fantasy. It’s more celebrated.”
Nearly 10 years after he won Season 4 of “Project Runway,” the designer will host the launch of his Lane Bryant collection on May 9 at the United Nations, “which invited him because the U.N. wants to celebrate plus-size women in America.” he said. “That will be another piece of fashion that I am eager to see and a new challenge to overcome.”
For more than five years, the designer has created customized gowns for select clients. Having designed a collection of revolving wedding dress styles for Nordstrom in the past, Siriano whipped up a few styles for Kleinfeld last season after co-owner Mara Urshel’s encouraged him to do. His first full-fledged 25-piece collection will be in the Flatiron District store not long after the April 18 show. Given all the discussion about buy-now runways shows, the designer is eager to see the reaction.
Siriano is moving on multiple fronts, and expansion plans are already being considered for the recent debut of his vegan, nonleather handbags, which may lead to his opening an Upper East Side accessories store somewhere between Third and Madison Avenues.
Launched in 2008, the brand is on target to exceed $6 million in sales this year versus $5.5 million in 2015. Having never had any contractual obligations with “Project Runway“ producers, Siriano, said of his success, “You have to find what your customer, your world likes, wants to wear and wants to buy each season. We try to do that even if it’s not what every single editor wants or what every person in fashion wants to support. Trust me. I don’t get that kind of support from everyone.”
He continued, “But we had a huge profit this year and I’m so proud of that. I don’t want to be a struggling young designer forever. I want to build a business. And that’s why I do these projects because they all help build the bottom line.”
Through his ongoing connection with Disney, Siriano had a hand in “The Pirate Fairy” and recently designed a Minnie Mouse-inspired dress for the “Minnie Rocks the Dots” fashion and art installation. Plans are already in place for his involvement with another Disney film next year. “Basically, once you work with the Disney team in general, they kind of come to you every year for a new project. You kind of become one of their designers or vendors in a way,” he said. “It’s great. We’ll see how it goes. I like them being my friend – not a bad partner.”
Before stints interning at Vivienne Westwood and Alexander McQueen, when Siriano was 13 or 14, he worked at Bubbles Salon shampooing clients, which sharpened his communication skills. “When you work in a salon people tell you their deepest, darkest secrets. It’s such an emotional thing. To be honest, working there prepared me for a lot of different things. It was just a different world. Everybody felt accepted. You could be yourself, you could be creative, no judgement – and that’s a great thing. There aren’t a lot of places like that. So yeah, that will always help long-term for sure.”
While his wedding plans with Brad Walsh are a favorite topic of conversation, Siriano said, “We are working out details. We’re a little behind. After this collection, I will figure it out in the next couple of months. My mother asks me questions every single day and I have nothing to give her.”