It’s a designer’s dream to achieve even one of the things Christian Siriano has accomplished in his career: dressing everyone from Michelle Obama to Lady Gaga to Sarah Jessica Parker; collaborating with brands from Nordstrom to Victoria’s Secret; launching and sustaining his own line and creating his own Midtown Manhattan boutique, The Curated NYC. But to have accomplished it all by his early 30’s is something entirely different (Siriano was the youngest person to ever appear on Crain‘s “40 Under 40” list).
However, the wunderkind didn’t even start his career as a fashion designer with an iconic Project Runway win under his belt or as a former student of Vivienne Westwood and Alexander McQueen — he started as a painter. A love of art is what brought him to the world of fashion, and it continues to inspire everything he does, from apparel to accessories and even home decor. See what Siriano had to say about his influences, and shop his original artwork, now available exclusively on Chairish.
You’re not just a fashion designer, you’re also an artist. How long have you been painting? What inspires you? And what is your medium?
I just love to create. I think self expression is the best way to project to the world that you have something to say. I feel like I have been painting my entire life — even before I was a designer, I was a painter. Everything really inspires me and I think that is why I’m never short of ideas in a collection. I like to use Acrylic paint mostly.
You painted original works that are for sale on Chairish. Can you describe your work and what you’d like a potential collector to know about your pieces?
Each piece is one of a kind and really is not just a sketch or painting to hang on the wall; it’s a future idea. One sketch could turn into an actual gown that someone might wear. So, it almost has two values in a way. That design could be the future and represent so much more.
You were one of the first people to jump into action and start making masks. Bravo! Tell us about that experience and what it has meant to you.
I think it was really important to stand up and help if you could. At the time I knew my team could make a difference, so that’s what we did. We worked really hard every day when most of the world was completely shut down and now have donated over 100,000 masks to the front lines. It is such an accomplishment we will never forget.
How is a post-COVID reality affecting your world in fashion, art and design?
It is changing everything. I don’t even think the same way anymore, which is a bit sad at times, but also liberating. I’m going to approach fashion in a new way because I think it’s a new world. I still want women to feel powerful and beautiful, so that will never, ever change.
You’ve always promoted an inclusive style of fashion. Why is that important to you?
I think fashion is really for everyone and clothes should make us feel something great. I’ve always wanted my brand to be diverse and special. I think having clients from all walks of life actually inspires me the most.
What do you find most compelling about Chairish?
Oh so many things! I love the hunt and I love how you can find pieces from all over the world.
Are there any dream vintage/antique “gets” you wish you could have? What’s a dream piece for you?
What are three of your favorite pieces on Chairish now?
I have my eye on these right now:
- 1950s Mid-Century Italian Modernist Mingazzi Wrought Iron Child’s Chairs
- Antique French 19th Century Handmade and Painted Chest of Drawers
- 1970’s Italian Modern Vivai Del Sud Rattan-Wrapped Wood Side Tables
You have places in New York and outside the city. How do you go about furnishing your homes?
Right now, I’m really into beautiful wood pieces from the 50’s and 60’s. I also love to find abstract art and figure sculpture. I am a huge vintage lover and getting to reupholster something is always a highlight for me. I use this amazing local company, Kostas Upholstery, and they can fix anything!
Favorite way to create a statement-making moment in a room:
Adding something unexpected and completely opposite from the rest of the home. I also love the use of a very interesting chair that feels like a piece of sculpture.
Favorite iconic piece of vintage design:
Favorite decorating cheap thrill:
Oh I love to find things at a local hardware store and turn them into something. A giant piece of wood could be the most beautiful piece of art that costs nothing.
Favorite paint color:
I love dove gray.
Favorite decor piece in your home:
I really love my Soriana chairs.
Favorite designer from the past you most often turn to for inspiration:
I loved the furniture pieces by Pierre Cardin Design.
Destination every decor lover should visit at least once:
The Marché aux Puces de St-Ouen Flea in Paris
Best piece of career advice you’ve ever received:
I think it was just to take risks no matter what!
Favorite vacation destination (next time you travel becomes an option):
I think Greece is one of the most beautiful places in the world.
Oh I love my friend Anna Farris and her Unqualified podcast.
Favorite Instagram accounts to follow:
My friend Kelly Wearstler is full of inspiration.
Favorite hostess (or thank you) gift:
Favorite style icon:
Lead image by Sara Kerens