How Christian Siriano Went From Gay Transphobe to Fashion Activist
First Lady Michelle Obama left everyone gagging last night after her speech at the Democratic National Convention (DNC) endorsing Hilary Clinton as a good influence for future generations. But Obama also impressed fashion lovers — like New York Times columnist Vanessa Friedman — with her understated dress of “Cobalt blue silk crepe, with cap sleeves, a flared skirt and a neat waist”. It was designed by (in)famous former Project Runway winner Christian Siriano.
Siriano became notorious during season four of the fashion reality competition for repeatedly using a transphobic slur to refer to designs that he considered “a hot mess”. Shortly after he won Project Runway in 2008, he apologized for using the slur and pledged not to repeat it. Since then, he has designed fashions for celebrities like Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Amy Schumer and Ghostbusters star Leslie Jones (after the six-foot-tall comedienne reported that no other designers would create a dress for her film’s red carpet premiere).
— Leslie Jones (@Lesdoggg) June 30, 2016
Friedman reports, “Mr. Siriano has built his career on being inclusive: on catering to women regardless of size or age,” adding that he once designed a plus-sized fashion line for Lane Bryant women’s clothes. “I just don’t think anyone should be excluded from having a beautiful dress,” Siriano told Friedman.
She also notes that last night’s DNC dress is actually the second time that Obama has worn a Siriano fashion; the first was during a Dallas funeral for the policemen shot by a sniper during a Black Lives Matter protest last week (below). When Obama wears something, the rest of the world takes note — not only of the fashion, but also the designer and story behind it.
As a result, Siriano’s Instagram has become politicized for his passion for dressing the kinds of bodies that often get overlooked by fashion designers and the political mainstream.
First Lady Michelle Obama @michelleobama wore our Spring 2016 asymmetrical hem lace dress today to pay respects to the slain officers in Dallas. A somber and very tragic occasion, but I am honored she chose our look for the day. It’s the first time she’s worn something of my design, so for me this is an incredibly bittersweet moment. Despite my admiration for her at this moment, I wish there was no reason for her to need a black dress today. I stand in solidarity with all the families who lost their loved ones across the country last week.
A photo posted by Christian Siriano (@csiriano) on