So, here’s what’s going down: Season 4 Project Runway winner Christian Siriano released a very highly anticipated plus size collection in collaboration with Lane Bryant last week.
Let’s flashback to approximately 10 years ago when he was a contestant on Project Runway. Brilliant, brilliant Siriano churned out piece after piece of what Tim Gunn ambitiously labelled the work of the “this generation’s Marc Jacobs.” Like, woah. It’s been a while since I watched Season 4, but let’s really lean in to this flash back with some evidence–
Pretty remarkable, right? This collection was created in 2008, and I still feel like it’s relevant AND fashion-forward today, 8 years later. This is a feat that I don’t think any other contestant on Project Runway has ever met– when watching that show, I am always struck by how swiftly fashion moves and how trendy things become recognizably dated within such a mind-bogglingly short period of time. I recently embarked on the journey of watching every season that was on Hulu one after another (’cause I’m a cool girl) and I actually felt like I was being catapulted through time by what was considered to be on the cutting edge in that particular year. All Siriano’s prodigious design praises sung, I will not ignore the fact that a sizable portion of his character on the show was built on transmisogynistic and classist slurs. I won’t post them here but a quick google should explain. The apology issued for this behavior was inadequate at best, and this makes me really really sad. I think the whole “the art v. the artist” issue is obviously complicated. I know he doesn’t say the particular slur he injected into pop culture 8 years ago anymore, and I hope this is because as a gay cisman who has a lot of privilege, he genuinely wants to do better (and, as it related to his work, stand alongside folks who have defined and shaped post-modern fashion as we know it today), and not because he just wanted the backlash to stop. That is a genuine hope that I have, and having heard from others in queer community who are actual friends of him, it seems like this might be the case. Here’s to growth and becoming a better person than you were at age 22.
So, it is with all of this existing together that I zoomed on over to the nearest LB this past weekend to see for myself, in the flesh, what the deal was. Here I am, in stretchy easily-removable garments….my body is ready.
Okay, so let’s start with separates.
And here they are on my bod:
So, aside from some fit issues with the skirt, I really like both of these pieces. The tee shirt is a really nice, high quality tee shirt. The fabric has a wonderful silky feel, and you can tell from the cut that it’s of an elevated quality. There are some tees that exist to just cover the body, and there are some that are designed to flaunt the body, and this is the latter. And that skirt! Things I liked – the PRINT. The thickness of the fabric. Things I didn’t like – the fit. But tbh I can’t really fault them for that– most clothing lines are made with a specific body in mind. Things are just usually sized up and down proportionally from there, and if you’re not that specific type that the line is designing for, you’re kind of left to deal with it or get it altered. Or buy from customizable clothing companies if you can. If they had Danielle Brooks specifically in mind as the person who would wear this collection, that’s amazing – but even if me and Danielle Brooks were the same size, we still have very different bods, so that shape difference will be present in the clothes as well. For example, one brand’s 1x could be 46-39-49, and another’s could be 46-37-47. The former’s brand is designing for a person with a larger waist/hips than the latter’s brand. So! All that said, this outfit gets pretty high rankings from me.
Next…..the Organza Plaid Circle Skirt.
And now, on my body in both black and white.
So, in a twist that none of us really expected, I much prefer this in white. The black is a bit witch-with-a-broomstick for my taste. Perhaps if I was able to style it a bit differently, with a fancier crop top, I would feel different. The black skirt looks so heavy, there needs to be a little skin/levity on top. But I think the white one is really pretty, unexpected, and versatile. And it looks bomb with the teeshirt too.
Okay, we’re done with separates. Onto dresses–first up, the Shirtdress.
They only had this in black at the LB I went to, so feast your eyes.
Okay so can you tell from my face that I think this is hilarious on me? I’m not calling out the actual dress, mind you – I think it’s a nice heavyweight material, well-made, and includes delightful oddities such as a exaggerated blousy short sleeve that you can’t really see here. I have no doubt this would be many people’s steez, and for good reason. But it’s not mine, so, moving on…
The Animal Print Dress.
Can we have a moment of utter, bring-me-to-my-knees respect for Danielle Brooks by the way? AHHH. It’s amazing that she’s collaborating with them on this.
So, the dress on my body–
Eh. So, a great thing is that the straps are easily removable, which does wonders for this dress. I think one of the reasons that I’m slightly lacking lustre over this collection is because the way the clothes are cut/fitted do not correspond to my body specifically. I’m certainly not self-centered enough to fault the line or Christian Siriano himself over this, because–that’s fine. My body isn’t everyone’s body and when you’re making a line of clothes in set sizes, you kind of just have to CHOOSE a body you’re going to cut for. That being said, I think I know TONS of people of all ages and stripes who would wear the BODACIOUS shit out of this dress. Femme garden party with some heels. Brainy book reading with some boots, clashing tights, and a weirdo vintage sweater. It’s twee without being twee. It’s versatile while still having a point of view. It’s just not for me or my body. Which again, is fine and good. Actually, it’s a mark of how goddamn lucky we are for the options we have that everything can be fine and good and I can still be a fat person with enough other options that I can politely tap out of this one.
And, on me:
Okay, let’s get this over with as quickly as possible. My first thoughts when I put these on were, “I’m hotter than this.” So, this whole contraption is just a mess on my frame. That one-shoulder thing is chunky as heck, and it does absolutely nothing for my body. Also, my apologies for the photo quality on the black dress shots, but the detailing is the exact same as the shorter pink one, they just elongated the dress to the floor. I just wish these dresses were better. The fabric is a stiff poly blend that is a combination of: not fancy enough for a gown, not flowing enough for the ruche-ing on the sides, and extremely absorbent of sweat/smells. None of these are ideal for an occasion dress. I think some things that would make this better are….fabric choies. How ’bout a georgette? Even a silk charmeuse would do in a pinch as long as it wasn’t too cheesy. This dress needs to flow, there needs to be some movement and delight injected into it. Some of the ideas are right, but the execution is kind of a budget nightmare. Let’s…have nice things, designers. I would throw down for some nice things right about now.
I wanted to end on an interesting note, so I throw this dress out to you all to tell me what you think of it. It’s the Embellished Mermaid Dress.
And here’s me:
So, this dress is playing games with my heart. At first I was horrified (the huge flower applique sequins both scared and enraged me), and mind you, the fabric is the same stiff poly blend they’ve used on the other evening dresses here. But the more I look at the photos, I’m not too mad about it. Like, yeah I’d want to wear it with backseam stockings and a gold or royal blue heel in a perfect world, and it would also need to be tailored, and SURE I really wish this was a matte black silk, but this cut isn’t bad. And boy oh boy do I appreciate someone dipping a toe into the mermaid silhouette for fats.
So, what do you all think??? I know I didn’t address price point in this roundup at all, so I’m totally welcoming input in regards to that or anything else. (I pretty much just wasn’t surprised at price point at all, which is why I didn’t talk about it.) Have any of you gone and tried stuff on yet? What were your favorite pieces? What didn’t you like so much?
I will continue with the tradition of scoring collections I review, so here goes:
CHRISTIAN SIRIANO FOR LANE BRYANT GRADES (out of 10):
- Quality: 8
- Creativity: 7
- Wearability: 8
- Fashion-forwardness: 7