The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.



Notre Dame Gets Fierce

Kelly O'Sullivan | Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Watch out Notre Dame, things are about to get fierce. Christian Siriano, the winner of the fourth season of Bravo’s hit TV series “Project Runway,” is coming to campus tonight to talk about life as one of the country’s hottest new designers.

Siriano, 22, is the youngest winner in the fashion design show’s history. Growing up in Maryland, he worked in a salon in Annapolis and attended the Baltimore School for the Arts. There, Siriano was able to focus on fashion design as his course of study, which gave him a strong foundation for what was to come.

Following graduation, Siriano moved to London where he attended American InterContinental University, later interning at both Vivienne Westwood and Alexander McQueen. These internships provided Siriano with invaluable experience and opportunity, especially since the designer has named McQueen as his favorite designer and one of his strongest fashion inspirations.

After being cast on the fourth season of “Project Runway,” Siriano immediately proved to be a top contender. He won four challenges, the most of any individual of the season, and earned a spot as one of the show’s three finalists. With this honor came the opportunity to create a twelve-piece collection to be shown in Bryant Park during New York’s fashion week. Victoria Beckham, guest judge for the finale, along with regular judges Heidi Klum, Michael Kors and Nina Garcia, praised Siriano’s Musketeer-inspired collection, which prominently featured ruffles and voluminous tops. Siriano was not only named the overall winner of the show by the judges, but was also voted “Fan Favorite”, an honor decided by viewers.

Siriano was glad to accept the prizes that came with his victory, which included $100,000 to start his own label and a 2008 Saturn Astra. Prior to the show, Siriano lived in a small apartment in New York City that didn’t even have a proper bed, as the designer claimed to rather use his money for clothes and his space as a work area. After this fact was made known in one of the last episodes of the season, W Hotels gave Siriano a bed to help furnish his living area.

Since the exciting conclusion of “Project Runway’s” fourth season, Siriano has remained a in the spotlight more than any previous winner. He has met with Victoria Beckham and Heidi Klum for fittings, and has appeared on several talk shows to recount his time on the show and his life since fashion week. Siriano is also scheduled to make a cameo on the May 1 episode of ABC’s “Ugly Betty,” playing himself.

Siriano’s distinctive character and flair also seems to have made an impact on the writers of NBC’s “Saturday Night Live,” which in a recent episode featured a skit about a fictitious Bravo show called “Fierce: The Hot Mess Make-Over Show.” Amy Poehler, sporting flat-ironed hair and familiar glasses, played Siriano, and used his catchphrases “fierce”, “tranny” and “hot mess” to excess to parody the always-entertaining comments of the “Project Runway” winner.

“Project Runway” mentor, Tim Gunn and his show “Tim Gunn’s Guide to Style” were also parodied in the skit. Gunn, who has guided hopeful designers through all four seasons of the “Project Runway,” has been especially praiseful of Siriano. Gunn stated in a March 2008 interview, “I really believe he is his generation’s Marc Jacobs. I really do. We have found America’s next great fashion designer.”

By speaking to any “Project Runway” fans on campus, you can quickly sense the excitement for Siriano’s appearance, which leaves many anxious to find out just what kind of entertaining they are in for. The lecture will take place tonight at 7 p.m. in 101 DeBartolo Hall.