‘It will be normal one day’: Diversity dominates at Christian Siriano’s NYFW show

Plus-sized models walk the Christian Siriano runway during Fashion Week in New York, Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016.
Plus-sized models walk the Christian Siriano runway during Fashion Week in New York, Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016. AP Photo/Mary Altaffer

Through the usual cloud of white, stick-thin models that typically rule the fashion runways, Christian Siriano‘s spring 2017 show, which took place on Saturday in New York, proved to be a beacon of light. His catwalk presentation, characterized by his signature glamorous aesthetic, was presented on models both thin and plus-sized, and on a range of women from differing racial backgrounds.

Before a front row peppered with insiders and it-girls, including Canadian supermodel Coco Rocha, Christina Hendricks and Kelly Osbourne, Siriano unveiled a dramatic collection of silky jumpsuits, curve-hugging dresses and ruffled separates in vibrant hues inspired by the Italian island of Capri.

But it was the plus-sized models, like Georgia Pratt and Precious Lee, who stole the show.

READ MORE: Fashion designer Anniesa Hasibuan makes NYFW history with haute hijabs

“I am just trying to show you that you can do it, you can celebrate everyone,” Siriano said to Refinery29 of the presentation. “The clothes looked just as amazing on [the plus models] as everyone else. It is so great to see, they rocked it.”
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Siriano first appeared on the fashion scene when he competed on and won Project Runway in 2008. Since then he’s gone on to create collections for Payless Shoes and plus-size fashion label Lane Bryant.

But it was perhaps his collaboration with Ghostbusters star Leslie Jones this past summer that truly shot the designer to fame. After the actress took to Twitter to say that she couldn’t find a designer willing to dress her for the movie’s premiere, Siriano stepped in and created a striking, red, off-the-shoulder gown that drew wide applause from fashion’s famously fickle critics.

READ MORE: Leslie Jones, ‘Ghostbusters’ star, ‘not a fit’ for Hollywood designers


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Although Jones didn’t specify why she had a hard time finding a designer to work with, her Ghostbusters co-star Melissa McCarthy has been vocal in the past about designers shying away from collaborating with anyone smaller than a sample size.

“Two Oscars ago, I couldn’t find anybody to do a dress for me,” McCarthy said in the July 2014 issue of Redbook. “I asked five or six designers — very high-level ones who make lots of dresses for people — and they all said no.”

In response, the actress launched her Melissa McCarthy Seven7 collection of stylish everyday separates for plus-sized women in August 2015. Her designs have been very well received and she has been credited with significantly bolstering the plus-size clothing market in the U.S.

Siriano’s choice to cast plus-size models in his show was widely praised by the fashion media as well as fans of his label, proving that the landscape is prepping for a shift in what constitutes a “desirable” body shape.

“It’s different now,” he said to TODAY Style, “but it will be normal one day to see every size on a runway and in the front row and at fashion week and events.”

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