Project Runway has hardly said "Auf Wiedersehen," and season seven is ready to strut its stuff this month. Windy City Times chased down Christian Siriano, the winner from season four, to find out how he makes it work at an appearance at Old Orchard Mall in Skokie.
Windy City Times: Hi, Christian. You always have so many projects coming out. It's very impressive.
Christian Siriano: It's very scary.
WCT: I have interviewed six people from Project Runway so far. How was New York Fashion Week this last time?
CHRISTIAN SIRIANO: Really crazy, busy. I have had lots of orders since the show.
WCT: You have designed for so many celebrities from Whoopi Goldberg to Lady Gaga.
CHRISTIAN SIRIANO: At my last fashion show we had such a great front row. We had Estelle, Tori, Kelly Rowland, Mena Suvari and [ supermodel ] Alessandra Ambrosio. I had to dress them all and it was so much work, but I said, " I just knocked out twelve girls in one day, so I am done for a few months!" No more celebs, it's a lot of work.
WCT: You have a book titled Fierce Style: How to Be Your Most Fabulous Self that came out in October.
CHRISTIAN SIRIANO: Yes, then I went on a U.S. tour of 20 cities. I did not come back to Chicago for the book tour but there are two stores that I sell to here, Helen Yi and Bonnie and Clyde's.
I just did a little show at Helen Yi.
WCT: You did a line of shoes and bags for Payless?
CHRISTIAN SIRIANO: Yeah. They are in the store right now, in the window. Go look at them. The first collection just hit the stores. I have four more seasonal collections with them for this year. I just did a holiday collection. There will be a maternity collection. It's just too much!
WCT: I interviewed three designers from the last season of Project Runway. What advice would you give them?
CHRISTIAN SIRIANO: The truth is I didn't watch that season because I was so busy. I had a 50-piece collection to do. I have not watched any TV. I missed all my Housewives shows. I am so upset. I try to catch the reruns.
The only thing I can say is afterward is that you have to do it. You have to go with it. You have to make a collection. I hate when people say I feel bad for them. It is not based on popularity. It is based on the workmanship and the work. Afterward, I was determined to have a collection and become a more successful designer. That's the idea. Everyone gets caught up in doing events. If you don't have the work to back it up then it's not exciting. I wanted a collection and the buyers there. It definitely takes money. My advice is go get a loan and do it.
WCT: That's good advice. You have literally hit the ground running.
CHRISTIAN SIRIANO: Don't get me wrong. I am probably more recognizable than the other designers maybe and that helps. After that season of the show, Heidi wore the gown to the Emmys and that was amazing. That was great exposure. I had that collection and worked with my publicist. We dressed the Pussycat Dolls. I dressed Whoopi. All those things started happening but we worked for them too. We sent clothes out everyday all day long. That is what you have to do.
WCT: You are saying you have to work it.
CHRISTIAN SIRIANO: Yes. Trust me I am successful in my own way but I am also still struggling but you have to keep going. This is the third season for me, and the collection is bigger and going good at this point.
WCT: Sounds "fierce!"
Christian Siriano's designs may be purchased locally at Bonnie and Clyde's, 1751 W. Division, or Helen Yi, 1645 N. Damen. The new season of Project Runway struts down the catwalk on Jan. 14; visit MyLifeTime.com for more information.