Christian Siriano on his Emmy dresses: ‘We’re about representing everyone’

Project runway finalist turned designer-to-the-stars, Christian Siriano, dressed no less than nine women at this year’s Emmys, which is incredible. Christian is known for his figure-friendly designs, and for making celebrities of all sizes glamorous. In fact he stepped up to dress Leslie Jones when she revealed that she couldn’t find a designer to work with her for the Ghostbusters premiere. Kaiser loves Siriano and reminded me that he was also one of the first designers to make gowns for Christina Hendricks. At the Emmys, Siriano’s designs were hit and miss. He made some really striking incredible pieces for Niecy Nash and Angela Bassett, but some of his other gowns were a snooze and a couple were really awful. Michael K at Dlisted called the dress Christian made for Anna Chlumsky a “bed in a bag” and that pretty much captures it. Christian hears the criticism and his response is that people just don’t “get it,” which I understand, you have to keep creating, but maybe he could take it as constructive criticism. He churned out so many custom dresses for that night, and that one was definitely an outlier. In a new interview with People, Christian explained the thought process behind each dress and he also described his philosophy of inclusion and creating dresses for everyone.

Angela Bassett’s bright yellow silk gown
“I love that Angela was covered up but looked so sexy, beautiful and elegant. And the color looked amazing on her!”

Kathy Bates’s white gathered top and black skirt
“She wanted to have a bit of a moment. Not every designer is sending her clothes, so it was exciting to give her that. We got to take a little risk and give her kind of a cool moment. It was my favorite thing.”

Niecy Nash’s white gown
“[She wanted] something sexy. She really wanted to look unbelievable and I think she did”

Maura Tierney’s black strapless gown with floral appliques was from his resort collection
“The easiest fitting we had. All it needed was a hem.”

Anna Chlumsky’s pink textured sack dress
“We all knew [Anna’s dress] was going to be something fun and different and not everybody would get it and that’s okay. I think definitely it was a risk. But it was cool. People get very scared of what they haven’t seen before. I think it’s sometimes fun to take a little risk every now and then.”

Leslie Jones’s royal blue silk crepe jumpsuit (which had a cape)
“Leslie wanted to be casual and comfortable. After everything that’s happened to her, she just wants to feel beautiful. Some fittings are super stressful. With Leslie, they’re fun. She comes in and she just makes jokes and it’s a blast.”

On his brand and philosophy
“I think that women wearing dresses is a happy, fun thing. It should never be serious and horrible. There’s enough of that elsewhere,” adding, “it just makes everybody feel good…. Being a young designer in this business, we’re going up against these massive brands with billions of dollars. It’s really hard to get people to support and want to wear the clothes and buy the clothes. We need to focus on what works for us, and what works for us is that we have so many different types of customers from around the world. I like to show people that’s what we’re about — representing everyone.”

[From People, headers added]

His outlook is admirable and I wish more designers understood that all women want clothes and that fashion should be accessible and fun. That makes sense that Maura Tierney’s dress was straight off the rack and it helps explain what a snooze it was. He deserves so much credit credit for working through fashion week and for committing to designing for everyone. I get the sense that he may take too much input from clients though and that it only works well when they have good taste. At least it’s collaborative and you can tell that his client’s wishes are what matters, not his vision. Also, I would have loved to have seen Leslie Jones’s cape! I rewatched that part of the ceremony where she came out and joked with the accountants and she wasn’t wearing it. Now I have a life goal to be dressed by Christian Siriano for something. Adding that to my bucket list.

Ooh here’s Leslie’s cape!




photos credit: WENN, Getty and FameFlynet

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41 Responses to “Christian Siriano on his Emmy dresses: ‘We’re about representing everyone’”

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  1. Sixer says:

    I might be in the minority but I am at least one woman who has absolutely no interest in clothes whatsoever.

    That said, I’m all for women wearing exactly what they want to wear and being happy in what they are wearing, whether the wider world thinks it suits them or not. So I really like this guy’s philosophy. We probably need more like him.

    • AgeofBellendia says:

      You’re not alone! But he has great attitude 😀

    • SilverUnicorn says:

      Born to a seamstress so I wouldn’t even know what ‘not’ being interested in clothes is like LOL
      In UK you also have the chance (great thing, by the way) that you can go to a shop/supermarket as dressed as you like and nobody gives a damn! 🙂 In other places you’d make front page on a magazine if you were to turn up anywhere in an onesie… I’ve also been made totally ashamed of myself for not wearing makeup, whilst here in UK nobody has cared about that in ten years (I hate to put anything on my face).

      And I agree Siriano has a brilliant attitude!!

      • Sixer says:

        Every so often, I have to go to something and think, oh bloody hell, I suppose I’ll at least have to put some mascara on. Then a hunt for my single tube of mascara ensues and, once it’s eventually found, I discover it has dried up. Then I throw a tantrum and rage about the patriarchy while Mr Sixer quietly goes out to buy me another tube. Then I snatch it off him with total ingratitude and the Sixlets roll their eyes at me.

        This is my beauty routine.

      • Aussieboy says:

        love that you owned that. I’ve been in Mr Sixer’s shoes more than once. thx for the laff. levity in gender relations is a great thing.

      • Brittney B. says:

        Sixer, your relationship sounds more and more like my own, the more I hear about it. My partner actually beats me to the patriarchy rant sometimes; mostly I think he’s just getting it over with. (Like in line for tampons on a recent vacation, when he got sarcastic with the cashier about tampons being taxable luxury items.)

    • swak says:

      You aren’t alone – I’m not a clotheaholic either. Give me something comfortable and I’m happy. Happiest if I don’t have to wear a dress! 🙂

    • Scotchy says:

      I recently discovered silk sweatpants..
      So now if anyone tries to give me grief about only ever wearing sweatpants, I look and them and say “They’re SILK”…

      Full disclosure, I stole said sweatpants from my grandma who is the queen of luxury loungewear..

    • Poisonous Lookalike says:

      You are far from alone, @Sixer. I’ve decided that now that I’m in my mid 50s, I don’t give a flying fig if someone judges my abilities by the clothes I’m wearing or the amount of makeup on my face (which is always pegging 0). There’s more important stuff to be done than that sort of ish.

      @Scotchy: silk sweatpants sound divine! Must start checking my local thrift shops for something similar.

  2. shannon says:

    He seems awesome. And, personally, as a non-fashionista myself, a bed-in-a-bag sounds like my dream dress lol

  3. LA says:

    Niecy looked AMAZING!!

    • Angel says:

      I love how the bodice works. It showcases her figure while not being too playboy bunny. Large breasts can be difficult, designers either hide them or put them on a platter. This was so elegant and classic.

  4. Pepper says:

    He’s able to dress so many people, and so many lower tier celebs, because he makes really basic designs with cheap fabrics and methods, and if he does proper fittings it almost never shows. If any of those Emmy dresses cost more than $3000 and 5 hours to make, he’s doing something wrong.

    Something like Kathy Bates top for instance, the skirt was too long and terribly hemmed, and the top had the right idea, but he cheaped out on material that couldn’t hold the shape so it looked limp. Meryl Streep and Oprah wear similar designs all the time but it looks so much better because the quality is there. Leslie Jone’s jumpsuit made her look boxy because it wasn’t tailored for her and sat in all the wrong places, and again, cheap looking material takes away from what could be a striking design. The boning on Neicy’s corset was really weak, so the sides kept jutting out and ruining her silhouette. That Maura’s dress was off the rack almost makes it worse, up close the sewing on the waist of that thing was atrocious and I’d assumed it was because they made literal last minute alterations, but if he actually sells it like that…

    On the rare occasion of his designs looks truly good, it’s because the person wearing it elevated it, like Angela Bassett. Put that dress on someone without her elegance and it’s as basic and boring as could be.

    Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great thing that there’s a designer making dresses for non A-listers and celebs who don’t generally make the fashion roll call, it’s a market someone needed to step into. It just bothers me when people act like he’s setting an example for the big fashion houses. If he was spending 100 hours making a $25,000 dress, he wouldn’t be giving them to people like Neve Campbell or a minor support actress from Kimmy Schmidt either. He makes very cheap, non-time consuming gowns and isn’t fussy about putting his name to something that’s not his taste. That’s great for him, but red carpets would become extremely ugly and boring if everyone took that route.

    • minx says:

      Good for him.
      I wholeheartedly support what he is doing.

    • detritus says:

      I enjoy this salty and informative take.

    • Chinoiserie says:

      Thank you, I had similar feelings about his designs but I am not as insightful as you to express them.

    • ria says:

      And then there are also the Big designer guys, from the important Houses with the magnificent Design Ideas and the wonderful materials for a lot of Money and when an ideal
      Proportinated Person/ stick thin, a la Gwyneth Paltrow at her Oscar win, is wearing this amazing Design, it can still look awful.
      And it does that because even the big Designer are not always good, and it does that even if they have the most expansive stuff, and looks not good even if the Person wearing the dress has the prefered body line.

      A LOT of what is sold as good by IMPORTANT Designers is named bad, when it comes from the less important ones.
      QUITE A FEW PEOPLE don’t take people coming from reality competition Shows for real Talent.
      That is a Sad Fact.
      For these people Siriano will never be as good as other Designers for A List Clients, because he started his Career “the wrong way”.

    • Angel says:

      Really great counter point. Part of what I love about this site is the thoughtful, educated resposes, thank you.

  5. Cousin Erika says:

    I don’t think he needs to absorb opinions about Anna’s dress as “constructive criticism.” He explained himself perfectly. Some people didn’t get it — and that’s fine! I didn’t, because I’m not a fashion person — but I wouldn’t interpret his comment as, in any way, condescending — not at all!

    • cd3 says:

      Agreed. I read that she chose the fabric, and that’s what they started from. She co-designed the dress apparently and chose the shape bc she recently had a baby and didn’t want anything body con.

  6. Lucy2 says:

    I wouldn’t say that I love all of the dresses, but I really admire him for stepping up and dressing everyone, regardless of height, size, shape etc.

    • NYer says:

      Yes, good for him. More designers need to get over themselves and start thinking the way he does.

      • cd3 says:

        This is very true and it makes me sad that his attitude is the exception not the rule – we are basically applauding him for being a decent human being.

  7. outoftheshadows says:

    Christian Siriano is the future of fashion… he seems to understand that fashion should be fun and accessible to everyone, and he isn’t afraid to try silhouettes that are unusual, like Bassett’s dress. It’s also nice to see that after Leslie Jones needed a dress and he came through, he’s got so much work now. It seems like the women he’s dressing can tell him what they want and he really listens. You can pick at the construction all you want, but in the end, these women were dressed by someone who cared about them. That means a lot.

  8. Lara K says:

    I actually loved Anna’s dress – I thought it was different and the color is beautiful.
    He was my favourite on PR and I still love him.

    • We Are All Made of Stars says:

      Ditto. It was interesting and unique. He’s definitely not A-game in terms of design or tailoring, but I guess he’s good enough to have a client roster of people who aren’t exactly being dressed by the major houses themselves.

  9. Nicole says:

    Love him and his philosophy. Hopefully more designers will see how he is. But CS can continue to tap into a market that no one is using

    • Original T.C. says:

      I really think some designers HATE women. He seems to respect and love the female form in whatever size we come in. That makes a big difference. I like his attitude.

    • milla says:


      He seems like a nice guy who really loves fashion, therefore he will try his best to make pieces for every woman, not only size zero or two.

      I really like that yellow dress, as for the rest, I am sure he will do better in the future. This is new territory, cos we live in a very strange world, but things have to change.

  10. We Are All Made of Stars says:

    Does anyone remember ”It looks like the tranny ice capades” from Project Runway? Lol now THAT is my favorite memory of Christian Siriano.

  11. Lucy says:

    Hey, Marc Jacobs, take note. He has a lot of room for improvement, but is certainly well headed. Honk for Siriano!!

    • milla says:

      the sad part is that when Jacobs was doing drugs his designs were great. Now that he is clean, it is like he became a PR machine. Just wants to shock you. Nothing more.

  12. Josefina says:

    I just love him from Project Runway. It always makes me happy when I see my favorite reality show contestants having success in their fields of work.

    I like that he sees fashion as something fun and more light-hearted. Fashion people are known for being terrible, pretentious snobs. It’s refreshing.

  13. LinaLamont says:

    Great attitude; mediocre (at best) designs. He’s just not that good. To me, his clothes always look amateurish. I’m not sure what, if any, success he’d have if he didn’t embrace women of all shapes and sizes.

  14. amilu says:

    Loved his fiesty (I mean fierce!) little self on Project Runway, and I love him now.

    I think Maura Tierney’s dress is a cute little 50’s-inspired number.