>The Christian Siriano s/s2011 Collection

20 Sep

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TEXT, VIVIAN KELLY
The best part of NYFW is that I get to actually TALK to people I write about throughout the course of the year. While in line for Lela Rose, Christian Siriano was flattered when I told him his that one of his finale gowns reminded me of a Bob Mackie.

Said Christian before being hustled off to his front row seat, “Ooh, I’ve always admired him and would love to meet him!”

A few days earlier, Christian had a pretty impressive front row going in section F: actor Alan Cummings and Leigh Lezark of the MisShapes – a modern day version of Snow White.

Siriano continues to build his brand – there are sunglasses now + wild vertiginous cage shoes for Payless and some matching taupe bags. I’ll pass on the bags but the shoes – oh my!
These towering models had women buzzing excitedly about them post-show.
The clean lined slim trousers and blouses and white dresses served as perfect foils to the sky-high retro hair and futuristic shoes. The details lay with the shoulder. There was an aqua and bronze party dress and a stab at the red carpet – a flounced gown with a crumb catcher bodice.

My favorites though were the simplest, the liquid silver short dress
and the silk charmeuse snakeskin blouse, gold snake leather skirt and matching clutch. He hit a dramatic note at the end w/ a ruffled red snake chiffon top worn w/ high-waisted black trousers.

My vote for “most dramatic evening gown” goes to the white finale tulle strapless gown where Christian unleashed his famous dramatic streak. I was reminded of old- time couturiers such as Bob Mackie, who like Siriano, weren’t afraid to “go there”.

I’ve been to over 1,000 fashion shows, but the Mackie show I attended nearly 10 years ago, at a cabaret at a long ago NYFW, is one I distinctly remember. Like Christian Siriano, Bob Mackie is a showman. In his hey day, fans included over-the-top personalities such as CHER, DIANA ROSS, WHITNEY HOUSTON, and TINA TURNER.

None of these gals was ever a retiring wallflower. He was also the costume designer for The Carol Burnett Show during its entire 11 year run, which as a child, I broke the rules for and watched in secret, when my parents were relaxing over Manhattans in the study, positive I was sound asleep in my bed. Back then, I loved Carol’s screamingly funny skits but I loved to watch her fantastic outfits too. It was a thrill years later, when I got to shake his hand after the cabaret show.

Going back to Christian Siriano, sure, it would take a daring woman to wear what one stylist referred to as “the toilet brush dress”, but the right woman can carry it and she’ll make a statement wearing it.
When you step-out as Mr. Mackie and Siriano do, and try to create dramatic couture level garments, not everyone’s going to love it. Couturier Paco Rabanne was criticized for his “space age designs” early in his career. We need some fashion and fantasy in fashion. Without talents such as Siriano, Mackie, McQueen, and Rabanne who dared to push the envelope, fashion would be a very dull proposition, indeed.

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