There's something nostalgic about Christian Siriano's runway shows: the classic silhouettes, the slow-strutting models, the ooohs and ahhhs of the audience. The designer and "Project Runway" alum, now in his 13th season at New York Fashion Week, doesn't need bells and whistles to get his customer excited -- the clothes speak for themselves.
Always one for a theme, Siriano sought inspiration for fall 2014 in Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn, model and muse to her mid-century photographer husbands -- first the Parisian Fernand Fonssagrives and later Irving Penn. The collection was ruled by tailored '50s silhouettes in sage green, plum, silver and gold. Injections of high shine and texture -- yes, there was alpaca -- made it modern. A green cocoon coat paired with a turtleneck and pencil skirt was early '60s chic; a black tee-topped ball gown rendered in peekaboo fabric was another favorite. Many looks were finished off with disc-shaped fascinators.
But Siriano falls flat, once again, when he veers into over-embellishing -- it's in his most stripped-down pieces that he excels. The audience audibly gasped when the towering Anna Cleveland turned the corner wearing a dramatic slinky silver gown -- train held out for effect (and precaution). Said my seat-mate, stylist June Ambrose, "That's the most splendid thing I've seen on the runway all season."