Get ready: The Christian Siriano x Lane Bryant collection is finally here, and we’ve got some exclusive details from the man himself. The 18-piece collection offers Siriano's aesthetic (at an affordable price point) to women who are often ignored by high-end designers. “I've been dressing women of every size pretty much from day one, and I have been all about celebrating every woman,” Siriano told Refinery29. “It was a natural fit. Growing up, my mom was a size 16, so I thought [the collaboration] was very important to do. Also, what Lane Bryant is doing for this world to celebrate every size is amazing."
Siriano had a pretty sweet source of inspiration: “The color palette and textures were kind of from 1950s, 1960s ice cream parlors,” Siriano said of the collection, which involves ample stripes, houndstooth, and bright pops of color. "I loved this idea that the clothes had a somewhat vintage feel, like the '50s flirty skirt and playful silhouettes, but [done] in a very modern, young way.” Though candy hues are plentiful in the collection, they don't come off as saccharine.
Making sure the collection has wide-ranging appeal was also important to Siriano. “My mom, who's in her late 60s, loves the collection; Danielle Brooks loves the collection...so many different types and ages of women can find something great in this collection," he said.
Those who lust after Siriano’s runway creations will recognize some of his signatures, including graphic stripes, hints of sheer, feminine fits, and vibrant hues. “I want every women to go into this a little fearless. That was the point: You should take risks, celebrate your body, and go for it.” He hopes that even less-adventurous types will give the collection's bolder pieces a shot. “You have to try things you wouldn't normally think look good on your body, because how would you know?" Siriano said. "My mom and I did a fitting on this collection, and there were so many pieces that she was like, ‘I would have never picked this out, but I am so surprised at how great it looks on my body.'"
Siriano joins an ever-growing roster of designers dabbling in plus sizes; this marginalized customer base is finally getting the options and access it deserves. But why does it seem like the fashion industry has just recently realized there are millions of women who wear above a size 14? "I don't know why [the plus-size market] is changing so much all of a sudden, but it probably has to do with the world of social media," Siriano said. "You see more body types by scrolling through your Instagram."
And even though the ready-to-wear industry is evolving, the chances of seeing a plus-size model on the runway at Siriano’s show (or on most high-end designers' catwalks) are still very slim. According to Siriano, that could be due to the challenges, or just the additional work, that it takes to properly design for larger sizes as compared to the traditional sample size. "It's like an architect making a miniature model [of a building] that then becomes large-scale: Some of the clothes we make are small because it's the first time we've ever made them," he said. "Sometimes, we make a dress that won't fit on every size...which can't always be constructed the same way [for a woman with] a larger bust or bigger shoulders. "
That certainly doesn't mean a runway sample can't be translated into a plus-size version; it just might happen down the line. "You can be a size 26 and get the same dress — we just have to do that process later on. The construction alone is such a big undertaking," Siriano said. "I think that's why, in general, designers don't show every size on the runway."