Getty ImagesNicholas Hunt
This has been the most dramatic week in fashion since the 2014 Met Gala party, when Solange drop kicked Jay-Z in his lemonade. At Harper’s Bazaar’s now infamous ICONS party, the Barbs and the Carbs got into a scuffle that led to security escorting Cardi B out of the event, shoeless and swollen, and Nicki Minaj…well, nothing bad really happened to Nicki except that she was trending on Twitter after Cardi, making it her second #2 of the summer…But I digress.
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With this all going down on the eve of my first New York Fashion Week, I went to the Christian Siriano show hoping to see a catfight on the catwalk. Instead, there was nary a physical altercation, a stiletto thrown, a drunken tirade. No, there was just a beautiful marriage of art and commerce and politics centerstage at Gotham Hall.
As someone that frequently shops at Madewell, I’m used to being surrounded by attractive people. It doesn’t rattle me like it used to, even though I personally brush my hair about once a year. But part of being a good writer is blending in with your surroundings, so I wore a wrap dress with a gaping leg slit that showed more leg than a table—because Tyra taught me to act like a hoe, but make it fashion™.
I sat in the second row, which is like the first row if you don’t understand how numbers work. There was a collection of good-looking ingenues formulating in the center of the room but I did not mingle, because I did not know anyone. Instead I chatted with my seat buddy, Justine, who encouraged me to take photos during the show. Bless her soul. I’m sure she did not realize I’d be using my iPad to take photos like a Nigerian immigrant at the Lincoln Memorial because I broke my phone weeks ago, and I enjoy the inconvenience of having a clunky device with no one’s contact info on it. My iPad meant that I was not inconspicuous when taking photos of the arriving celebrities, like woman of the hour, Cynthia Nixon. But we were all there to people watch, and much like Cardi getting buck at a work event, I would not change myself to fit in, because that’s not high fashion at all.
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Speaking of fashion, as far as the garments were concerned, Christian Siriano’s show was a far cry from cutting a hole into a trash bag because Tim Gunn said to “Make it work!™” It should come as no surprise that the reality contestant-turned-fashion juggernaut responsible for dressing Michelle Obama, Kelly Ripa, and Whoopi Goldberg had striking pieces perfect for every occasion. His show featured women of all sizes and races, and like Siriano’s inclusion of real women on the runway, his collection felt surprising yet classic at the same time. (I should note that including a diverse array of women in a fashion show should be the standard, not the outlier, but thank goodness for designers like Siriano for setting the bar on what is deemed acceptable.)
Everything, from an embellished white pantsuit to a highlighter-yellow silk jacket, felt like an essential accent to any woman’s wardrobe. There was something there for every consumer, be it the ladies that lunch, women that work, or the girls that gala™. Siriano’s talent is pulling from a vocabulary we know to make looks that feel new and chic, much like I’m pulling from decades of watching America’s Next Top Model, Project Runway, and yes, even The Face, to write this piece.
Christian Siriano listens to women. This is evident in his designs. Heidi Klum always said that, in fashion, one day you’re in and the next day you’re out, but it’s clear that he is not going anywhere.
And while no one threw a shoe at this show, I felt uppercut by Siriano’s bold colors, real-women reality check, and steadfast support of Cynthia Nixon. It was a great first New York Fashion Week; I can’t wait to return.