Christian Siriano in November 2009
November 18, 1985 |
Annapolis, Maryland, United States
|Education||American InterContinental University|
Christian Siriano (born November 18, 1985) is an American fashion designer. Siriano first gained attention after winning the fourth season of American reality show Project Runway, becoming the series' youngest winner of Project Runway history. Shortly after winning Project Runway, Siriano launched his fashion line, Christian Siriano, which as of 2010 has brought in revenue of over $1.2 million.
Siriano has said that his parents supported the arts and encouraged him and his sister to pursue creative fields. As a child, Siriano studied ballet, and on a March 2008 Ellen appearance, he described himself as a "musical theater kid who loved costumes". Siriano's interest in costume design inspired him to pursue a career in fashion. He began designing clothes at age thirteen, while working as a hair washer and styling assistant at Bubbles Salon in Annapolis, and eventually began sewing clothes for the salon's annual hair shows. Siriano spent a year at Broadneck Senior High School before transferring to Baltimore School for the Arts. The school allowed Siriano to choose fashion design as his course of study.
After being rejected by the Fashion Institute of Technology, Siriano chose to study abroad at American InterContinental University in London, England. Following the recommendation of a teacher during his senior year, he began interning at Vivienne Westwood, and later, at Alexander McQueen, who Siriano has stated is his favorite designer. Siriano moved to New York City after graduating from college.
Before auditioning for the fourth season of Project Runway, Siriano worked as a freelance make-up artist for Stila cosmetics and made wedding gowns for private clients while also holding a brief intern position at Marc Jacobs. Siriano decided to audition for the show after the suggestion of a friend's mother. During his time on Runway, Siriano won four challenges, the most of any contestant that season (followed by Rami and Victorya, who each won two). Siriano advanced to the show's finals, and won a spot to show a twelve-piece final collection at New York Fashion Week. His collection was made up of Musketeer-inspired couture, featuring ruffles, feathers and headwear.
During the finale, which aired on March 5, 2008, celebrity guest judge Victoria Beckham praised Siriano's collection as being a "breath of fresh air" and stated that she would be "honored to wear" any piece of his clothing. Siriano was announced the winner of the show's fourth season, winning a fashion spread in Elle magazine, a 2008 Saturn Astra, and $100,000 US to start his own label. In addition, Siriano was awarded the season's "Fan Favorite" award, based on votes from viewers. He received a check for $10,000 US, which was presented to him by season three Fan Favorite Michael Knight. As part of his prize for winning Project Runway, Siriano's first collection for Bluefly began retailing on the website shortly after his win.
Label and mass market collections
Siriano's eponymous fashion line, Christian Siriano, debuted at New York Fashion Week on September 13, 2008. His collection is retailed at Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus. In 2010, Siriano was named one of Crain's Top 40 Entrepreneurs Under 40, which reported that his line has brought in over $1.2 million in revenue as of 2010.
In 2008, shortly before debuting his fashion line, Siriano began collaborating on several mass market retail collections. In April 2008, Siriano designed a fifteen piece collection for Puma. In May 2008, Siriano designed virtual promwear for Gaia Online's virtual prom. In the summer of 2008, he launched a maternity line, Fierce Mamas, with Moody Mamas founders Elise Rosemarin and Marta Abrams. On December 4, 2008, it was announced that Siriano had signed a deal to design a line of low-cost shoes and handbags for Payless ShoeSource with products to be available for retail in Payless stores in Fall 2009. Siriano's line at Payless expanded in 2011, when he signed on to release four collections for the chain annually, including a higher priced "Gold Collection."
In February 2009, Siriano teamed up with LG to create a fashion-themed phone, the LG Lotus (LX600). In April 2009, Women's Wear Daily announced that Siriano had partnered with Victoria's Secret to retail his own makeup line, Christian Siriano for VS Makeup. In November 2009, Siriano collaborated with Starbucks to create a limited edition Siriano brand gift card. Siriano created a series of fashion-themed sponges for cleaning item brand O-Cel-O in the summer of 2010.
In February 2011, Siriano launched a limited collection for catalog retailer Spiegel, named "Christian Siriano for Spiegel." Siriano was the first designer chosen for the catalog's designer collaborations line, "Signature Styles."
In the media
Siriano began to receive pop culture attention during his time on Project Runway, primarily for his asymmetrical upswept hair-do and his flamboyant attitude. Several of Siriano's catchphrases were parodied in the media by multiple blogs and television shows like Saturday Night Live, on which Amy Poehler portrayed Siriano. In March 2008, Siriano appeared as a celebrity guest on season 1 episode 11 of Bravo's Make Me a Supermodel, where he critiqued the contestants' catwalks and designed an outfit for one of the contestants, Holly Kiser, to model on the runway. (Kiser went on to win the competition). On May 1, 2008, Siriano appeared as himself on season 2 episode 15 of Ugly Betty, and designed some of the cast's costumes (such as Amanda Tanen 's blouse, which was sold in an auction on the internet). In June 2008, Siriano appeared in the music video for R&B artist Estelle's single "No Substitute Love."
In October 2009, Siriano released a book titled Fierce Style: How To Be Your Most Fabulous Self. The book was co-written by Rennie Dyball and featured a foreword by Siriano's former Runway mentor Tim Gunn.
In August 2010, Siriano's name was used in a Craigslist scam. The scam involved a search for women interested in modeling for Siriano's line. Upon hearing the news, Siriano posted this on Twitter: "fyi girls i have never and do not ever look for models on craigslist or online. these photo shoots i'm hearing about are scams! be careful!" 
In March 2008, Margaret Price, a columnist for Bitch magazine, wrote an editorial entitled, "Is Christian Siriano Making A Hot Mess of the Term 'Tranny'?", in which she stated that Siriano's use of the terms "tranny" and "hot tranny mess" were offensive to the transsexual community and that by using the terms he was popularizing an "as-yet unclaimed slur."
In a May 2008 interview with Time Out New York, Siriano responded to a question about the lasting power of drag culture by stating, "If you think of heterosexuals, they have white-trash women and trailer parks, and we have drag queens and trannies. I don’t know if I’m the one who can explain it. It's, like, drag queens are just there." The remark garnered criticism for its derogatory slang and its comparison of transsexuality and drag queen culture to "white-trash" and trailer parks. Siriano released an apology to GLAAD in which he stated, "I mean no disrespect to the transgender community and I never will." Of his comments in the article, Siriano said, "I wish that my words were not taken in that way. When I was speaking, some comments that I made were not used in the article." He further commented that he is "actively working to remove" the term "tranny" from his vocabulary.
In November 2011, Siriano's talent agency, DMA, filed a lawsuit against Siriano, claiming he violated an oral contract and neglected to pay over $53,000 in commission and fees owed to them from his partnership with Payless ShoeSource. Siriano's attorneys released a statement shortly after stating, "It is unfortunate that Designer's Management Agency ("DMA") has commenced a legal proceeding. Christian does not work with DMA and has no obligation to them. DMA concedes that it does not have a written contract. However, based upon an alleged oral contract, it incredibly seeks to obtain commissions in perpetuity. This legal action it has taken against the companies of Christian Siriano is without merit."
Siriano has tattoos of a squid and an octopus on his right arm that he has said are "a tribute to Maryland and the sea life". However, Siriano later contradicted this statement by saying that his tattoos "mean nothing... Totally random. And yes, it's permanent, but I'm young. In twenty years, there's totally going to be ways to remove it."
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- "Christian Siriano To Make Payless Fierce With His Shows". People magazine. December 4, 2008.
- "Christian Siriano's Payless Collection is Getting Bigger!". InStyle. August 31, 2011.
- Video: Designer Christian Siriano and LG Mobile Phones Combine Talents to Create...
- "Victoria's Secret Beauty Takes Cue From 'Project Runway'". Women's Wear Daily.
- "Remember that Secret Starbucks Collaboration Christian Siriano is Doing?". New York magazine. October 30, 2009.
- "Christian Siriano is Redesigning a Cleaning Sponge". New York magazine. June 22, 2010.
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- "'Runway' Winner Reacts With 'F' Word To SNL Skit". People magazine. 10 March 2008.
- "Naomi Catwalks Onto 'Supermodel'". OK! Magazine. March 18, 2008.
- "Project Runway's Christian Siriano to Appear on Ugly Betty". Us Weekly. March 27, 2008.
- "Fierce Style: How To Be Your Most Fabulous Self". Amazon.
- Nashawaty, Chris. "Did You Watch Christian Siriano's 'Moment'?". Entertainment Weekly.
- Price, Margaret (14 March 2008). "Is Christian Siriano Making A Hot Mess of the Term 'Tranny'?". Bitch magazine.
- "Let the Gays Begin". Time Out New York. May 29, 2008.
- Caplan, David (May 30, 2008). "Christian Siriano: I Didn't Mean To Offend Transsexuals". People magazine.
- Romine, Damon. "EXCLUSIVE: Siriano Clears The Air on Trans Trip". GLAAD.
- "Christian Siriano Sued By Talent Agency". New York magazine.
- "Christian Siriano Responds To Talent Agency Lawsuit". New York magazine.
- Pompeo, Joe (7 March 2008). "'Project Runway' Winner's BF Unveils Nightlife Photos -- In Park Slope!". The New York Observer.
- Cohen Blatter, Lucy (June 5, 2008). "Hot Fashion Designer Claims 'Fierce' Williamsburg Loft". The New York Sun.
- Official website
- Christian Siriano on Myspace
- Biography of Christian Siriano on Bravo Official Website
- Christian's e-Prom Dress Line
|Project Runway winner