'Project Runway's' Christian Siriano Puts on a Show

Hilfiger Spring '09

I mentioned earlier that I'd gone to a preview of the Tommy Hilfiger collection and that the designer had been inspired by the idea of relaxed glamour. Well, he put his collection on the runway last evening at Lincoln Center. In order to improve his business, he has adopted the European model for the American market. That means that he's shifted his sensibility and his prices upwards. Except for the line he now sells exclusively through Macy's, the collection now boasts evening gowns in the $1,000 range. The result of the shift and the Macy's partnership is a 60 percent increase in his women's business. So says Hilfiger himself.

Because I am a fan of "Project Runway" -- for professional reason only, honest! -- I couldn't resist going to the Christian V. Siriano show. Yes, he includes the middle initial on his label. He was last season's winner who couldn't get enough of the word "fierce" and has become Victoria Beckham's BFF. Well, sort of. Anyway, he showed his spring 2009 collection just before the Zac Posen fashion circus. All manner of "Project Runway" cast-offs were in the house, including Malan Breton, who I swear looked like he was wearing eyeliner, and Sweet Pea, whose tattoos are much more subtle in person than on TV and seemed to be giving a running commentary about the show to some guy from MTV.

It must be hard for these designers to move on after "PR" and be thought of as real designers and not just reality show knuckleheads. TV can do a lot for name recognition, but it's hard to shake off the stench of cheesiness.

His Fierceness put on a show that was focused, focused, focused on gray organza that was pleated, tucked and gathered into skinny pants, short skirts, tank tops, dresses and pretty much anything else you could think of. The show wasn't bad. In fact, it laid to rest any skepticism about whether he deserved to win. Siriano is very talented.

But it also was a reminder of just how hard it is to come up with truly unique ideas in the fashion industry and to execute them skillfully. An awful lot of the collection was reminiscent of work from houses such as Nina Ricci, Rodarte and Marchesa. But hats off to Siriano for being able to pull off a show that was professional and that had a point of view.

"PR" needs for one of its designers to do well in the industry. It looks like Siriano has the best chance. But who knows. My fingers are crossed.

By Robin Givhan |  September 12, 2008; 8:00 AM ET New York
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That Hilfiger model in the photo. She looks beyond thin to starving and ill.

Posted by: Terry in Silver Spring | September 12, 2008 12:24 PM

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