The youngest Project Runway winner Christian Siriano is back, but this time he’s trying his hand at designing shoes and purses instead of clothes.
Siriano, the winner of season four, has signed a deal with Payless ShoeSource to design his first footwear and handbag collection. It will be unveiled at New York’s fashion week this month and be available in stores across Canada this fall.
The deal covers multi-season collections, and price points are expected to be in the $50 to $70 range.
“I think it’s great for me to partner with Payless because my clothes are a little higher end, but I realized I also have a younger fan base,” says Siriano.
“I think all of them could shop at Payless and buy the shoes because they’re designer and really similar to the originals we’re designing for the runway.”
He joins other Payless designers and stylists such as Laura Poretzky, Lela Rose, Stacey Bendet and Patricia Field. All their collections aim to feature the latest runway and red carpet styles.
“I think people are really careful with what they’re spending their money on fashion-wise,” says Siriano.
That’s not to say he isn’t confident in selling his collection.
“I think accessories and shoes people will always buy even in a tough economy,” says Siriano. “If you have a fabulous dress, you need fabulous shoes to go with it.”
As for what to expect in his fall collection, it’s a reflection of women he loves to dress — someone who is powerful and strong. The collection entails rich colours, Egypt and the desert, which is very different from his spring collection.
“I think inspiration comes from what I love inside. Then, I take it from something material like Egypt and the desert,” says Siriano.
His collection uses a lot of snake-skin patented leather with chain elements, says Siriano. He says to expect really strong shoes and dramatic shapes for his bags.
“(The bags are) quite cool and not overly feminine,” he says. “You can be any type of girl wearing them.”
Since winning the show last year, he has moved on to build his label, Christian Siriano and has had the chance to dress stars like Vanessa Williams, Heidi Klum and Victoria Beckham.
Siriano also has a book coming out at the end of this year called Fierce Style, filled with fashion tips with a little autobiographical information.
As for the fashion industry and what’s it’s really like, Siriano says it’s nothing like the show.
“It’s hard to actually pick up so much tangible knowledge because you’re thrown into something and it’s really not how it is in real life,” he says. “Everything I made in Project Runway I’ve never ever made in my entire life.”