I’ve admired Christian Siriano ever since I saw him on the fourth season of Project Runway, so when I found out that I was going to have the chance to interview him I was beyond excited. He not only has his namesake “Christian Siriano” collection featured at New York Fashion Week, but he’s had his designs worn by celebrities such as Sarah Jessica Parker and Jennifer Lopez, among other things. When you think of forces to be reckoned with in the fashion world, you can’t help but think of Siriano.
Besides fashion, I also love anything having to do with Disney. Siriano and I discussed what it was like for him to be a part of the style and look for a character named Zarina in the animated movie The Pirate Fairy. The movie is produced by Disneytoon Studios, and it’s an all-new Tinker Bell movie starring Tinker Bell and her fairy friends. It’s “the first time Disney will be introducing Zarina, the Pirate Fairy, [who] is a daring new fairy with the talent to experiment with pixie dust.” The North American release date for the movie is April 1st.
He was so friendly and easy to talk to, and it was not only fascinating learning about what it was like for him to be a part of a Disney movie, but I also loved hearing about where he gets his inspiration from, who he would love to design for, and more!
MC: I read that you were brought in to consult on the pirate look for Zarina and also her style. How did you get involved with this movie?
CS: Disney reached out and they were looking for a designer to make Zarina’s character a little more kind of fashion forward…a little more cool…maybe a little more edgy. It was really an organic process, and that was kind of it. I did a ton of designs for them and it was really a great collaboration.
MC: I know that Peggy Holmes is the director of the film and you worked with her to conceptualize Zarina’s look and style. What was it like working with Peggy?
CS: Peggy is amazing; I love her. When I got to chat with Peggy for the first time she really told me about the story. I think she’s so passionate about each story…to kind of create it and come up with [it]. She’s easy to work with because she’s passionate about it.
They had a lot of great ideas so it was really easy for me to come up with a look. They were specific on certain things and other things they let me be very creative. Peggy is a perfect champion for creativity.
MC: How would you describe Zarina’s personality and how do you think her look and style reflects that?
CS: Her personality is maybe a little different from some of the other fairies. She’s a little more adventurous…a little more daring. In the film she almost has a little evil side to her. I think in that aspect because she plays a pirate in the majority of the film, she needed to be like a pirate on a ship. So we kept very traditional elements; her little corset that she wears is made out of leather. That’s a little edgier for some of the other fairies that just make their clothes out of leaves. She’s a little more daring, which is great, but she has a soft side as well.
MC: Do you see some of yourself in Zarina?
CS: I think everybody does because she tries new things and she’s adventurous. It turns into the wrong thing, but I think everyone has a little Zarina in them.
MC: What type of research was involved for her look?
CS: Mostly it was kind of me looking at traditional pirate costume elements. We tried to take those elements and update them. Like a pirate jacket. We wanted her jacket to be similar…a little bit more fashion…a little bit more feminine. Things like that. Her blouse is a very traditional pirate blouse.
MC: How does designing for an animated film compare to other things you’ve designed?
CS: It’s different because it’s animation and they don’t have to wear it the next day. Everything else is really similar because you want to make sure the blouse moves in the right way and everything has to fit. Disney really wanted pixie-like clothes on a real body and it was really like I was sketching for a client.
MC: I’m a huge fan of Disney movies. Do you have plans to work on any other Disney projects in the future?
CS: I hope so but [there’s] nothing now. Disney is great to work with and I’m a huge fan of Disney films. I’ve grown up on them and I think they’re very inspiring. It would be great to do more.
MC: What movie, animated or non-animated, would you love to have designed clothes for?
CS: I think there are tons of films I’d love to be a part of. There’s a new Disney movie coming out, Maleficent, with Angelina Jolie that I would’ve loved to have designed costumes for. I’m always open to some things so it just depends what comes my way.
MC: I saw a beautiful sketch that you had posted on Twitter yesterday. Where do you draw your inspiration from?
CS: Anywhere and everywhere. It really can be anything. My last collection was kind of inspired by a muse of this woman in the late ’60s. But then I can be inspired by flowers or I can be inspired by a painting I saw at a store. It really just depends on what’s happening. I’m never searching for it. It just happens and it’s really organic. I kind of just go with it and luckily imagination helps.
MC: I know that your designs have been worn by celebrities such as Emily Blunt and Jennifer Lopez. How does the collaborative process work between you and all of these big names?
CS: It just depends on what it is. Sometimes we make custom things for different people and that’s really a great process. You get more input from the actors [and] the musicians. Other times a stylist is working with that person and they’re really helpful and they choose what they want to wear. It can be very easy and very organic or more of a collaboration and a back and forth.
MC: What celebrity have you always wanted to design for that you haven’t designed for yet?
CS: There’s a ton of different people. I’m a big fan of Cate Blanchett, who I think is beautiful and elegant. [Then there’s] Julianne Moore who I really love…Drew Barrymore. There’s a long list.
MC: You’ve done stuff for some really great names like Rihanna and Sarah Jessica Parker.
CS: Yeah, some of my biggest people that I admire really much…everyone from Gaga to Rihanna to Sarah Jessica. [There have been] so many people that I’ve gotten to work with which is really amazing. It never can be forced because when it’s forced it just doesn’t work.
MC: I was taking a look at your shoes and bags on Payless.com, and I must say that they are stunning. I particularly liked the women’s Kasino Pointed Toe Pump. Did you always know you wanted to have an affordable line of shoes and bags?
CS: It’s been going on for a long time now so I think at the beginning I probably was a little skeptical. But now I think it’s really amazing. Millions and millions of people around the world can have my shoes and my bags, which is pretty great. I think in that way it’s great for the brand and for people who love fashion. They can get some things that are designer and stylish at a great price. I love that.
MC: Which fashion designers do you really admire?
CS: I admire some of the old brands that have been doing it for a long time like Oscar de la Renta, Carolina Herrera, Marc Jacobs, [and] Donna Karan. The brands that have been really building it over time I think are really great. I think there are tons of young brands that are doing great things as well, but I admire those that have been around for a long time.
MC: Do you ever get inspiration when you’re sleeping and say “Ah! I got to write this down?”
CS: Yeah, all the time. I do a lot of my sketching and a lot of my ideas when I’m at home late at night. That is when I usually come up with the majority of my ideas.
MC: What is something that you’re working on right now that your fans can look forward to?
CS: Probably my most exciting project coming out in the next year is I’ll be launching a fragrance. It will be really exciting and I can’t wait for it. Because I think it will be a signature Christian Siriano line and hopefully will last for many years to come.
And with that, we came to the end of our interview. Stay tuned for Siriano’s fragrance, which I will be definitely waiting in line to get! Also, don’t forget to watch The Pirate Fairy. Based on what he had to say about the movie and what I saw in the trailer, I know you will be in for a treat! Here’s his website.