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.

Christian Siriano: Retro Parisian

Godfrey Deeny
February 12th, 2010 @ 5:21 PM - New York

Christian Siriano is a former winner of Project Runway, and thus something of a celebrity here in New York, but also almost entirely unknown in Europe, the region where he got the inspiration for the dressy and slinky collection he staged Friday afternoon, Feb. 12, in New York.

More specifically, Siriano got inspired by Paris and in particular early '60s Paris, so there was an elegantly nostalgic air about this Fall 2010 collection, but also a somewhat stilted mood, too.

While it'd be easy to discount Siriano as a lucky reality show winner, but in today’s showing this young man – 25 in November - clearly showed he has talent.

For starters, he cuts with a certain aplomb, whether his smart opening look, with a flared at the hips leather jacket and an above-the-knee pencil skirt worn by Dominican Republic model Arlenis Sosa, or a great cowl neck sleeveless metallic wool dress. And, one could easily imagine modern French women wearing many of the clothes, especially his taut dresses, which had enough Gallic attitude and tawdry sexiness.

However, Siriano was far less at ease in the evening, when his overly elaborate chiffon cocktail dresses simply did not look terribly modern, or very svelte.

The collection recalled “1960s European women – particularly Parisian women – who got dressed every day,” according to the program notes. Which raised the question, what did New York women do in the '60s, not get dressed every day?

Siriano also sent out the fruit of his newest collaboration – a series of shoes made in a joint venture with Payless, with all sorts of French names like Cabriole, which was a peep-toe, or Rocaille, a hefty platform pump. By and large these looked pretty darn good, and similar in spirit to the sort of baroque heeled looks Karl Lagerfeld showed in Chanel haute couture last month.

For some odd reason, the designer covered his runway in dry ice, so the models traipsed around in a fog, which as any European fashionista will tell you is typically Milanese, and not very Parisian, weather. And as far the music, a fabulous chunk of techno funk by musician and Siriano boyfriend, Brad Walsh, this seemed far more apt for club in Ibiza and not a café in Paris.

But, let’s hear it for Siriano, who pulled off an entirely respectable at-bat today, or maybe we should say, a fine game of boules?

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