Why Christian Siriano Is Fashion’s New Hero… Even If We Don’t Know It Yet

This past Fashion Week in New York City, only one thing was really happening. Or so those in the fashion world would feel. The thing is… being in the fashion world… daily… well it seems like each Fashion Week gets a bit more droll and a bit less… news. LAST year the talk was all about how the “system” within which the design spectrum percolates was on the brink of utter collapse (meaning they are making a few changes in order to keep up with the changing demands of a tech based culture… cough cough… never say fashion people lack in drama). THIS year the only thing that really stood out among the sequins and colour blocking was… a few larger models in the Christian Siriano show.

Don’t get me wrong, the entire escapade of cuts and colour and front row ranking was as fabulous as ever, and a few stand alone shows were very worth the chaos and insanity that is the months long lead up to a few minutes of amazing… however the entire scope of fashion week has been changed forever. And not many really took notice.

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It’s in the press, this student of Project Runway turned “I-dressed-the-First-Lady” superstar. His show was the same level of fabulous that we have come to expect from Siriano, great cuts, just the right amount of feminine detail without being fluffy. Not too colourful but not too shy either. The striped pantsuit in particular was just stunning.

A complete collection that didn’t strive too far into the dreaded “too wearable” (meaning blah… this is still fantasy after all) while being completely attainable in scope. And all presented on a fabulous collection of gorgeous models. Of varying sizes.

What people are not realizing however is that Siriano’s silent answer was to a question that has been posed with greater and greater frequency in media for the last decade. WHY are the models getting more and more generically sized 0? WHO is going to address the issue of women’s bodies being… well.. real if not the fashion industry? And while this question has been posed repeatedly in the media as of late with more fervent passion, and some would say anger, nobody was ready to change the solidly entrenched structure of the fashion mold.

To discuss the issue, to impart new laws around the issue, to point fingers at those ignoring the issue… none of these were set to change anything. Change must ALWAYS be made at the center of the problem to actively cause a ripple effect into actual action.

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Siriano’s simple deviation from what has become the accepted norm was in fact earth shattering for the industry and the fashion world as a whole. Because now it’s out there. The structure has been broken and finally it will no longer be up to SOMEbody to make that first scary step into the “will they accept it though?” fashionverse. Just like the introduction of more ethnic looks once upon a time or even tattoos a decade ago happened among little fanfare, but created waves all the same, this quietly introduced change has in fact been the biggest news of this decade of fashion.

Fashion is fantasy. We all know that. Everyone in the industry feeds off of that. We are here because we were the ones giving our dolls better haircuts to complement their features. We were the ones that dressed our little brothers up in cut up (in my case antique heirloom, my mother cried) tablecloths. Or the ones being dressed up. We all understand that this is a game of sparkle and ruffle and how high a heel we can walk on.

What many are refusing to deal with however is the business side of fashion. To the detriment of the industry.  Because the bottom line of any industry is that you must have  paying customers. And when your customers need something that you cannot, or will not provide for them, you fail.

It’s just that somebody had to do it first.

Christian Siriano made a major turn within the industry this past season. He offered up his runway to a MASSIVE opportunity. In a society where skinny models is almost passe and we are desperate for something new, could it be that what we are really looking for is just something more real? Have we finally come full circle? We hope so.

 

Andrea Bell

Contributor

Having over twenty years in the fashion and PR industries, Andrea has covered positions as an author, editor, stylist, art director, consultant, marketing director, social media director and in various media stations in publishing. Green longer than she can remember. Updo in the clouds and feet firmly planted in a fabulously structured garden.