Christian Siriano has done Project Runway. He's done six-ish hit Fashion Week shows. He's done a full costume collection for the upcoming film Eloise in Paris. He's done a makeup line, he's done Victoria's Secret, he's done Payless shoes … he's even done sponges (yes, that's correct). The 25-year-old ingénew is paving the way for a brand-new breed of multitasking designers, and his latest collaboration with Spiegel is just par for the course.
His capsule collection for the century-old catalog company — which plans to broaden its customer base and bring fresh new looks to its "Signature Style" stable — includes 12 pieces, from a zip-up peplum jacket to a $499 take-no-prisoners, haute-couture-inspired petal dress, available for a limited time starting April 4.
We chatted up the fierce fashion designer to find out why he decided to add Spiegel to his very long to-do list.
So, why Spiegel?
I didn't know too much about Spiegel, and then when I started researching it, I was like, "Wow, Spiegel has been around since 1919. It's crazy how old it is!" No, its genius, and they've had this customer that is loyal and fun and loves fashion, and I feel like when Spiegel first started it was the most innovative thing — it was like catalog shopping for women, which was never heard of. It was kind of amazing. And it also needed something elevated. It needed something exciting happening with them, so I was like, "I'll take the challenge."
What was your inspiration for the collection?
I have so many girlfriends who are like, "Oh my God, next month I have three weddings, two cocktail parties and a birthday I need to go to. What am I gonna wear?" The idea was to create two or three dresses you could wear to all those events. So it's not necessarily that they were inspired by one thing, they were really inspired by what women need. So, we have everything from a great maxi-dress that's very Grecian and fabulous to a fun, black ruffled party dress that is kind of more me and a little cooler, so it's like all the different worlds of dressing. But it's all by me, so it all makes sense together.
Do you have a favorite piece?
I have two favorites! One is a strapless, pleated chiffon bodice with a cascading flounce cocktail dress. Very fun, very New York. The other one is actually this very soft, muted leopard-print dress that has a big bias cut cowl and wraps around. It's super soft — it's jersey, this really great knit. What I like about it is that it can really be for a size 2 or a size 16.
Since you started, how do you think your style and your palette have evolved?
It evolves every season. It grows, it changes, and I get more excited about every season. This collection, my own label… I like to learn new things every season, and I think it's now or never for me. I'm young, I'm new. I have a lot to live up to.
This collection is far more wearable than what we see at your New York Fashion Week runway shows. Was the transition difficult?
Yeah, I love fantasy! But what's great about this is that they're wearable, but they're so interesting. So it wasn't necessarily a challenge because I'm learning, more and more, how to sell and how to make a business grow, so it's okay. It wasn't too much of a stretch.
You have a wide range of projects you're working on. How do you balance it all?
I've been asked to do the craziest things, and sometimes they're awful, and sometimes they're fun! If it's a graphic design project — which is what O-Cel-O, the sponge, was — or a job opportunity that I never would have gotten — and, yes, there's always those things that they want you to do — but I really just wanted to do it because I thought it was kind of cool and interesting. Maybe not to everyone! And then Payless has been so great because it's everything from wearable shoes to runway shoes, and now hopefully I'll be launching my own shoe collection, so that evolved because I loved designing shoes. And then Spiegel is all about wearable, accessible clothing, which I haven't really done before. I have to really be into it, and hopefully people can tell, because I think you can tell when collaborators aren't into it. And trust me, I don't do it if I'm not into it.