Christian Siriano on His Latest Collab and Fashion’s Collective “Breakdown”

by Aria Darcella

Christian Siriano has a new collection showing at Fashion Week and a new collaboration with J. Jill on the way — all while prepping for the Emmys and a trip to Europe — but somehow, the designer still found time to chat with The Daily about his hectic life, and his love for John Wick.

How do you feel about shortened Fashion Week schedule? Do you feel even more rushed?
Oh no, it’s great for me. I always get nervous that the editors, the buyers, and the clients are going to get overwhelmed. I actually don’t think every brand is right for a runway show. There are some clothes that you don’t need to see walk. I don’t need to see ten shift dresses on the runway. There are some brands that create more of an emotional story, and I get really excited about their work.

Which designer’s show would you like to attend if you had the time?
I would want to go old school. Like old school Oscar de la Renta, or Donna Karan, or Vera Wang. Those are who are really exciting to me because when I was a young kid, those are the people that I looked up to and wanted to be a designer. Now I know nothing. I don’t even know who’s showing. Maybe Tom Ford! That would be fun.

Can you give me any hints about your show?
It will be very colorful. It’s inspired by pop art style. I just wanted to have fun this season. Fashion is in a really weird place right now. The whole industry is having a breakdown. Everyone is closing. It’s crazy so I was just trying to have some fun.

Christian Siriano for J. Jill holiday collection, available in November (J. Jill)

Tell me about your new collection for J. Jill!
It’s really exciting! This is their first collaboration, they’ve never done one before. We really wanted it to feel super wearable but still elegant. Normally, this woman is a little bit more easy, breezy, casual but we wanted to give her something a little more “done” but that is still her. It’s the most inclusive collaboration I’ve done, because it’s sizes 2 to 28. Before it was either plus sized or more commercial. This is fully for all different types of women. Still keeping the idea of it being wearable because she has kids, she goes to work every day. It can’t be too event driven.

Christian Siriano

(J. Jill)

Are you doing everyday items as well?
We’re launching a White Shirt Shop so you’ll be seeing a lot of white blouses. We’ll be doing those for every collection — this idea of having one piece that you can find every season. Giving her some waist and silhouettes. They don’t do a lot of cinching at the waist and showing off the body at J Jill so I wanted to show the figure a little more. We’re launching with one very classic black cigarette pant and one suede skirt to pair with all different things.

How big is this partnership?
It’ll be two collections [a year] for two years. What’s hard with collaborations sometimes is that it’s a pop in/pop out [situation]. The consumer doesn’t always understand, then she doesn’t become a fan. This way we’re keeping her going for a few seasons.

Christian Siriano for J. Jill, available September 12 (J. Jill)

How do you pick your partnerships?
I look for a challenge. With my job, as with any designer, you can get stuck in your world. With high fashion it can be like, “Okay, I’m kind of sick of celebrities,” or whatever it may be. With J. Jill I was really excited because they have a very specific woman and I was excited to branch out and get some new customers for them. It’s all about getting new shoppers and making sure the loyal woman has something.

This drops during Fashion Week. Right after that are the Emmys. How are you juggling your time?
September is the worst month! We launch on the seventh and then we have the Emmys and I’m showing in Paris. We will be very busy. I don’t know how we’re going to survive yet but we’re going to do it! The Emmys are the 22nd and we fly on the 22nd so we will be leaving the Emmys as we go to Europe. We’ve done enough of these shows that, it’s not easy, but I know what works and what doesn’t.

You dress so many men and women for these events. Do you keep up with their shows?
I do try to catch something that somebody has been working on so I know what’s going on with them. Otherwise that would be rude. It’s really hard. There’s a lot going on that’s the challenge sometimes. Truthfully, I don’t always watch everything but I do always know what they’re in.

Christian Siriano for J. Jill, available September 12 (J. Jill)

What do you do to wind out the end of a day? What do you watch?
I’m watching Good Girls, which is so good and my friend Christina Hendricks is in it. I watch it all for her. I’m watching the final season of Orange is the New Black because those are all of my friends. I’ve been working with them since the first season. I’m really into a lot of action movies. It’s my escape.

Like the new John Wick?
It was amazing. [Keanu Reeves] a really good actor. He is amazing, he’s sexy — all of the above.

Do you ever see yourself doing more menswear?
Someday! It’s so hard because men are so boring with what they wear. Even me. Men who will take a risk are fun. Hopefully more men will try.

You’ve done maternity wear for the red carpet. Are you going to be doing anything for Ashley Graham?
You know I should! I was just texting with her yesterday. I wanted to leave her alone for Fashion Week, I thought I should let her live her life.

Christian Siriano for J. Jill will be available online September 12.

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