The Rise of Christian Siriano

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After becoming the youngest winner of Project Runway in the show’s fourth season, Christian Siriano has risen as a force of good in fashion; a rarity who sees no limitations as to who can represent his high fashion brand on the red carpet. Launching his own eponymous fashion line in 2008, Siriano debuted the collection at New York Fashion Week and soon became a staple for celebrities, as seen at this year’s Oscars where seventeen stars wore his designs. The seventeen women who chose to wear his designs have little in common; they range in age from 32 to 75 years old, they work in numerous different professions, and they all have different body types. Rather than choosing to dress only those who fit into a sample size gown, Siriano dresses all who wish to wear his designs.

As a successful comedian who has been a cast member of the popular show Saturday Night Live since 2014, Leslie Jones is at the top of her career game. However, when looking for a dress for the premiere of Ghostbusters in 2016, a film in which she played one of the lead roles, Jones found her options to be limited. Speaking on twitter in 2016, Jones described how ‘It’s so funny how there are no designers wanting to help me with a premiere dress for a movie. Hmmm that will change and I remember everything’. Siriano then responded to this message and began a creative relationship and friendship which has led to the pair collaborating on numerous looks, including the custom beaded and sheer gown Jones wore to this year’s Emmy’s.

The task of finding a dress for red carpet events is one which numerous women have spoken out about. If you don’t fit the designers ideal size or are not of a high enough celebrity status, it seems to be unlikely that the big fashion houses would dress you. Speaking on Instagram about the news that Christopher Bailey was leaving Burberry, Adele described how ‘Christopher Bailer and Burberry were the first major fashion house to dress me and my big arse’.Both Adele and Jones’ discussions of this issue raise the crucial link between a woman’s clothing size or success and her ability to get dressed by brands, with this fact being justified by some through the creation of the argument that the biggest fashion houses only want to be represented by stars who match the brands’ own influence.

However, the idea that brands only refuse to dress certain celebrities due to them not being successful enough seems to be incredibly flawed. Since her career began in 2008 with the release of her debut album 19, Adele has become one of the most successful musicians in pop music today, and yet, as a plus-sized woman, brands still refused to dress her. Whilst some may argue that brands refuse to dress all celebrities, no matter their clothing size, if they are not of a certain level of influence, the way the conversation has been shaped by those women who have been refused by brands seems to conclude with the idea that, for plus sized women, their collaboration with brands is reliant on them being on the very top of their game, a requirement that women who fit into sample sizes do not always need to meet.

Siriano sums up his view on the importance of dressing all women, no matter their size, in a conversation with TIME magazine. Being interviewed as one of those shortlisted for the 2018 TIME 100 list, Siriano describes he was ‘so sick of people saying “I can’t wear this it’s for models”, it made me insane. Well okay, I’m going to make my models look more like you’. Rather than limiting his designs to just those who fit into sample sizes, Siriano questions ‘Do we not think that those people are beautiful or interesting? I mean, they look great in a dress’, an inclusive take on fashion which summarises Sirano’s approach to designing clothes. Whilst some brands may limit their clothes to those who are skinny enough to fit in them, Siriano welcomes all women, dressing them in unique and stunning creations which highlight their own individuality.

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