You may associate Christian Siriano with his success on the show Project Runway or by his “fierce” persona, but other than the appearance of Heidi Klum at his first boutique opening in NYC during New York Fashion Week, he’s beyond his reality TV roots—his talents are on par with some of the top designers out there. Make no mistake, this petite person is a major force in the fashion world.

I had the pleasure of being one of the first to check out Christian Siriano’s new shop on Elizabeth Street on the Lower East Side the other night. While expecting to see his over-the-top gowns with intricate appliques, fit for the fashion elite and red carpet, instead, everything was wearable by the average fashionista—down to the evening maxi one event-goer paired with a breton t-shirt. The new direction of Siriano’s work is proving that he has the talent of McQueen with a sense for what women want like Kors. 

I already made my shopping list, as I sipped on some kind of concoction that included ginger beer and listened to tunes mixed by the Misshapes. (I was in the same room as Leigh Lezark. I’m officially cool). Of course, I went straight for the shoes, being he is the designer that has revamped the Payless brand by creating designs specifically for their customer, but still with a high fashion touch. In an era where $600 shoes are the norm, I actually was happy to see that his shoes were more attainable at $250 for a pair of pony hair stiletto booties. While much of the shop consisted of wearable pieces, there were a few stand-outs featured on mannequins that could have easily come straight from the “Savage Beauty” exhibition.

Welcome to the big leagues, Christian!  


This was a big week for Christian Siriano, he also unveiled his spring 2013 collection which is beyond anything he has ever shown. Not only were there more wearable pieces in his collection, like tailored blazers, flowing pants, and even the everlasting trend of a peplum, but it showed a softer side of Christian.

Inspired by the ballet, as a former dancer himself, he curated his collection to look like right out of the American Ballet, including actual ballerinas as models, according to Christian. The pastel colors were dreamy and the tulles, mixed with a little bit of sparkle on other pieces were everything a girl ever wanted for her Barbies, but not mistakenly were created for the modern woman. 

Even the hair and makeup were dreamy and fresh. Just when I thought I was sick of yet another top-knot at a fashion show, these seemed fitting and effortless. The beats of Siriano’s adorable boyfriend, Brad Walsh, made everything feel even more fresh.

A collective gasp among the audience came out as three models came out for the finale looking like they stepped out of a Degas painting. I spoke to Sam Bennett, Siriano’s evening wear designer, who said he was working on perfecting the details of some of those until the night before. Those details paid off, as they were meticulous, in true Siriano fashion.

photo credit: Arun Nevader/Getty Images for Payless

Most notably, the shoes that Siriano designed for each look were show stoppers. From metallic brogues (my current favorite shoe of choice) to pastel pumps with bow details on the heels, each shoe got some attention. As I marked off which shoes I could only dream to own, I looked at my show papers and noticed that they all will be available in February 2013 for the Christian Siriano for Payless Gold Collection. That means I can afford each one…and all of them together.

 Emily Kammeyer, Christian Siriano, Lauren Young, & Liz Teich at The Vault for Christian Siriano’s after-party.