July-August 2013 | FLAIR FOR FASHION

Christian Soriano



Annapolis native Christian Siriano has come a long way since winning season four of the hit Lifetime series Project Runway. Now the talented designer has gone global: His apparel line and shoe label are not only sold in high-end boutiques around the world but are favorites of celebrities like Sarah Jessica Parker and Victoria Beckham. At just 27 years old, he has collaborated on designs with Victoria’s Secret, Puma and Spiegel, just to name a few. Of course, he partners regularly with footwear emporium Payless to create stylish shoes that can be enjoyed by his fans at every price point.
Coastal Style guest contributor Delaina Dixon caught up with Siriano after his fall 2013 showcase at this year’s New York Fashion Week, where he explained his design inspiration process and shared some of his fondest memories of life on the Shore. 
What is your fondest memory of growing up in Maryland?
I think one of my favorite memories would be every summer for the Fourth of July my family would shop for a huge feast at Annapolis Seafood [Markets] and then have a beach party in Bay Ridge, with fireworks, boat rides across the bay and lots of relaxing on the beach with family and friends.

Who were your fashion/style/artistic influences, and can you see traces of those influences in your current designs? 
I’m inspired by so many people in my life. Growing up, my sister was huge influence in my life and has made a large impact on how I design today. She was always fearless in how she dressed. She was also a very talented ballet dancer, and I think being backstage and her seeing her in costumes with her hair and makeup made me fall in love with that fantasy world. She was a dancer with Ballet Theatre of Annapolis, which is now Ballet Theatre of Maryland.

Do you have a specific statement you’re trying to make with each new creation, or is it more of an overarching philosophy that is expressed in all your designs? 
I want women to fall in love with the dream world I’m trying to create. I want the collection to feel new, modern, wearable and desired. There are a lot of brands out there, so each collection needs to feel special, and it’s important to me that my pieces make women feel great about themselves when they wear them.

Your collection is carried by such iconic haute-couture retailers as Neiman Marcus. What, then, made you decide to apply your talents on behalf of Payless? 
I wanted to make my fantasy world available to any consumer, no matter the age or budget. I think what makes fashion fun is that you can mix and match items regardless of the price. I love mixing a $10,000 gown with a $40 pair of shoes; that’s what fashion is all about to me.

Where do you draw your current inspirations from? Do they just spring to your mind like epiphanies, or do you see something, out on the street or elsewhere, that acts as a catalyst for a new creation?
I look at everything and anything for inspiration. An inspiration needs to be organic and natural; I can’t feel forced to just make a collection without inspiration. I’ve tried it before, and it never works. I take my inspiration from experiences, nature, cultures, cities, interiors, art, people… it can really be endless. That’s what I love about fashion inspiration: I never know what’s coming and what’s going to excite me. It just never gets old!

In the fall and beyond, what can fashion-savvy women anticipate in terms of emerging trends? 
It’s hard to pinpoint what will emerge or continue to stay on trend. I think it’s important to always have classic pieces in your closet that you can build on with special pieces based on the season. For example, if the current trend is sequins and metallic, your best off finding statement pieces within that world. Perhaps one great sequin jacket and a metallic shoe.

Editor’s note: Delaina Dixon is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of DivaGalsDaily.com and a co-host of the brand-new series The Gossip Table, which airs on VH1 weekdays at 9:00 a.m.

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