Christian Siriano in November 2009
November 18, 1985 |
Annapolis, Maryland, United States
|Education||American InterContinental University|
|Spouse(s)||Brad Walsh (m. 2016)|
Christian Siriano (born November 18, 1985) is an American fashion designer and member of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA). Siriano first gained attention after winning the fourth season of American design competition show Project Runway, becoming the series' youngest winner. He launched his namesake "Christian Siriano" collection in 2008, which brought in revenue of over $1.2 million by 2010 and was estimated to have reached $5 million by 2012.
Siriano was born and raised in Annapolis, Maryland where he 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. He has one older sister, and is of Italian and German descent.
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.
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 Project Runway, Siriano worked as a freelance make-up artist 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 three challenges, the most of any contestant that season. 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.
Christian Siriano label
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 had brought in over $1.2 million in revenue as of 2010. In 2012 the New York Times reported that revenue was estimated around $5 million. In September 2012, the first Christian Siriano flagship store was opened on Elizabeth Street in Manhattan's Nolita neighborhood. The store launch included celebrity guests like Heidi Klum, Allison Williams from HBO series Girls, stylist Brad Goreski, and DJs The Misshapes. Siriano launched his first fragrance in early 2014.
Christian Siriano is a red carpet favorite for celebrities. Some of his most famous clients include Sarah Jessica Parker, Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Christina Ricci, Victoria Beckham, Christina Hendricks, Taylor Swift (who chose a Siriano gown to wear in her Wonderstruck fragrance campaign print ads and commercials), Nicki Minaj, Heidi Klum, Emily Blunt, and Solange Knowles. In July 2016, after comedian Leslie Jones commented that several designers had refused to dress her for the premiere of Ghostbusters, Siriano offered to design a gown for her. Michelle Obama wore a royal blue dress designed by Siriano for the speech she made at the Democratic National Convention on July 25, 2016.
Siriano was inducted into the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) in June 2013. In a February 2012 New York Times story, it was revealed that Siriano applied once before but was rejected. CFDA CEO Steven Kolb said in that article that "a lot of well-known designers did not get in on their first or second try and that the council typically considered longevity in business when making its decisions."
Mass market collections and collaborations
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. 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 2013 Siriano launched a more affordable limited collection of dresses, separates, and accessories for HSN, called "Striking by Christian Siriano."
In January 2014, it was announced by Disney that Siriano will be in charge of creating the ensemble costumes for the fairies specifically Zarina in the upcoming animated film The Pirate Fairy. Siriano stated that "I loved the challenge of this project. I haven't designed for an animated character before, and I'm excited to take my skills into Zarina's world. She's a unique and new character and I wanted to help make her memorable and iconic. Disney characters are everlasting and I'm so happy as a young designer to help create a bit of Disney history."
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. 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 September 2011, Siriano's boyfriend Brad Walsh said that he hadn't heard Siriano use his Project Runway catchphrase "fierce" since 2008, and that fashion media were stubbornly refusing to take Siriano seriously because of the way he found fame.
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 is openly gay and lives in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan with his husband, singer-songwriter Brad Walsh. Siriano and Walsh became engaged on July 28, 2013. They exchanged engagement bracelets rather than rings. They were married on July 9, 2016 at their Summer home in Danbury.
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."
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