In 2007, Christian Siriano won Project Runway, launching his career in fashion and gaining him a huge celebrity following. These days, the 37-year-old juggles red-carpet gowns with a booming interior design business. To celebrate his 15th anniversary in the industry, Avenue spoke to him about furniture, his famous friends, and why you will never catch him in a pair of Crocs.
Were you into interiors as a child?
My mom would make her own tapestries. I would go with her to fabric and furniture stores growing up. I was very involved in that process—building a home or a room with my mom. Fashion came after that. I was a ballet dancer. That was exciting to me: the world of costumes and transformation.
Do you still dance?
I don’t, sadly. But I want to start taking ballet classes again. This fashion week collection is my 15th anniversary and is going to have a lot of ballet inspiration to bring back things I loved when I was a kid.
I bet your childhood room was decorated to the nines.
It was pretty eclectic. As a kid I loved going to flea markets and antique stores. I love a vase. I love a bowl. But I had my band posters. Britney and NSYNC were hanging on my wall.
You have a chic house in Westport now.
I live half the time in Westport and in Tribeca. Westport is an ultimate kind of getaway. We have a beautiful pool and three acres, and I have my store there, which has been exciting. Some weeks I want to be in Connecticut all the time, and then other weeks I want to be in the city all the time.
Does your boyfriend influence your interior design?
He’s really into interiors. I’ve rubbed off on him. He loves going antiquing all over the world. We were in Milan recently, and he was like, “Let’s go find some really cool art.” I thought all he would want to do is shop for clothes.
Any interiors trends that you loathe?
I love chinoiserie wallpaper and all that, but I am more modern. The world of interiors isn’t as judgmental as fashion. Well, they are, but they’re not as tough on you if you’re wearing Crocs. I don’t think there’s the equivalent to Crocs or sweatpants in a home. Maybe a La-Z-Boy chair, which is rude to say. Sorry, but I don’t want a big recliner in my living room.
Clients can be needy when you’re decorating a house.
I don’t know if I handle it very well. With clients that come to us for clothes, they’re just excited to get something beautiful. With people’s homes, they are so much more emotional about it. A chair can really make somebody have a breakdown. You’re kind of a therapist. But I’m good at reading people. My goal always, whether it’s a dress or a piece of furniture or a rug, is to make people feel great about themselves and their world.
Fifteen years in fashion. Congratulations! Your front row is always so star-studded.
We’re still hanging on, so that’s good. I have a lot of famous clients and friends. Oprah was one of the first people I ever dressed. I was dressing Lady Gaga before anyone knew who Lady Gaga was. I was Lizzo’s first fashion show and Cardi B’s first fashion show.
Furniture and fashion seem to go hand in hand for you.
There is definitely overlap. I just reupholstered these amazing chairs in this beautiful shearling fabric that I bought from an Italian mill for a coat three seasons ago that I never used.
Your store is a veritable Siriano mecca, with furniture, clothes, fragrance–it’s a one-stop style destination.
I missed the old Barney’s and Jeffrey and all the cool multi-brand stores that were interesting and unique. That’s where I fell in love with fashion. I did it in Connecticut because, especially in Westport, there is such a need. There are a million stores in New York, we don’t really need any more.