There are few certainties in Fashion Week, but in recent years Christian Siriano putting on a capital-S show is one of them. The location will be grand; celebrities will be in the front row; boldface models will walk; and there will be enough gowns to outfit an entire black-tie wedding. Spring 2023 followed this formula: At Elizabeth Taylor’s former townhouse in Midtown, guests including Janet Jackson watched models like Karen Elson slowly walk down the ornate spiral staircase in XXL wide-brimmed hats and dresses with long trains.
Siriano was one of the first designers to return to this vision of glamour following the start of the pandemic. Nostalgia is as strong a through line in his work as size inclusivity and ball skirts. But the location really drove this idea home this season. Siriano was thinking about Old Hollywood and its icons. “When Elizabeth Taylor’s former townhouse becomes available, you make that happen,” he said. “We really wanted to channel Elizabeth Taylor and Katharine Hepburn tailoring and ask what’s the modern Marilyn, the modern Bianca Jagger?”
While Siriano has been in a return-to-opulence mindset since staging a masked runway show outside in Connecticut in fall 2020, he says his customer is now fully caught up. “Our eveningwear has taken a huge uptick. We can’t make it fast enough.”
So he gave the people what they want. The show opened with a series of tailored suits, which Siriano now makes in sizes up to 32. One in slate gray with a waist-cinching wide belt was particularly elegant. The drama arrived in full force with a blood red evening dress featuring a puffy peplum (which has become a Siriano signature) and a sheer torso and skirt, plus a hat that mirrored the waist detailing. Hard to imagine Marlene Dietrich or Marilyn Monroe wearing it, but it fits right in with the designer’s oeuvre.
Restraint remains Siriano’s friend. The little black dresses—typically the rote-est of rote—stood out. One was a drop-waisted number with a bubble-hem tulle skirt and floral appliqué; another was a square-neck sleeveless midi with a voluminous, asymmetrical hemline. Both seemed to take cues from the other Hepburn (Audrey) but were rooted in the present day. A gown with a black velvet bodice and a bustled striped skirt was similarly directional and felt like a change from the more expected mountainous skirts, puffs of tulle, and feathers.