With luxe pajama sets and high-waisted sweatpants as top trends for Spring 2021, fashion has entered a pandemic-fueled casual era that looks less magical than ever. But if anyone can keep the fantasy of fashion alive, it's Christian Siriano.
The designer was one of very few on the New York Fashion Week calendar to debut his Fall 2021 collection via a live runway show. The change of location from his backyard in Connecticut last season to Manhattan's Gotham Hall on Thursday, set the stage for drama and dressing up. Both were intimate and socially distanced affairs in compliance with the state's health and safety guidelines, but when you host anything in a regal event space and fill it with models like Coco Rocha and Candice Huffine, the bygone feeling of celebration almost immediately manifests.
"I decided to dream up another world…one that doesn't exist anywhere but in my mind," Siriano said of the inspiration behind the collection in the accompanying show notes. "After a recent trip to Aspen, Colorado to visit family for the first time in a year, I was really inspired by this idea of a psychedelic alternate reality. A dream world up high into the mountains where an almost colony-like world exists."
Many would associate plush furs and precious coats with Aspen fashion, but Siriano's sartorial vision of a wealthy mountain town looks a bit different. There, socialites wear body-tight snakeskin dresses, sheer one-shouldered gowns with cascading ruffles and shimmery plaid. The coats Siriano showed, however, were very precious and looked like expensive snow-colored toppers that you'd find on a "Real Housewife."
The first several looks were done in a warm, autumnal palette, made up of a rich chocolate browns, gingerbread hues and soft ivory creams. Then, after a series of black cut-out party dresses, Siriano turned up the vibrancy with bright pink and green. The gradual progression of wearable winter hues to unexpected vivid tones was made more apparent in the silhouettes and construction of the garments: the shapes of the brighter gowns were louder and took up more space.
Room-occupying silhouettes are nothing new for Siriano, whose designs often end up on the red carpet, but for the first time the designer worked with thrifted clothing. Siriano teamed up with ThredUp to source the gently used items in hopes of inspiring a more circular future for fashion. Plus, if a runway collection filled with Fantasy with a capital F looks can be made using pieces from everyday clothes, then perhaps fashion isn't at risk of losing its magical charm after all.
"This year has been so up and down, it's been difficult to figure out what I wanted to create this season," Siriano said in the press release. "I hope this collection shows that fashion remains a powerful dreamlike world that can be actual reality if we let it happen, despite the circumstances."
See every look in the Christian Siriano Fall 2021 collection in the gallery below.