Move over Alexander Wang. Project Runway prodigy (“Tim Gunn…realized within 30 seconds of meeting Mr. Siriano that he was special”) and industry wunderkind Christian Siriano has won over the critics – and now, the economy. The designer was named one of Crain’s “40-under-40,” an honor typically reserved for the who’s who of finance and philanthropy – other winners include 39 year-old Seth Pinsky, the head of the city’s Economic Development Corp, and 38 year-old John Lockwood, executive director for the city’s Habitat for Humanity.
“The day that Lehman Brothers collapsed in 2008, Christian Siriano had meetings scheduled with buyers from various retailers,” writes Crain’s New York Business. “They all canceled.”
“The sassy young designer, who had just shown his first solo collection during Fashion Week, knew he needed to be more than a runway wonder to succeed in the era of the great recession. He quickly diversified.”
In came talon-esque shoes for Payless, an LG lotus promotion and a Victoria Secret cosmetic line. A Secret deodorant plug and $20,000 deal with Bertolli were denied because they didn’t fit the image he was trying to develope. (“I cried,” says Mr. Siriano, recalling the day he rejected the Bertolli offer.”)
Now, Siriano sells his high-end ware in Saks and Neiman Marcus. Revenue is up 75% since 2008 to $1.2 million and sales are expected to grow an additional 40% this year. Recession be damned.
Siriano will share the secrets to this success in a “really documentary style” Bravo feature this Monday. “It’s very like The September Issue, very Valentino [The Last Emperor]. We want it to be as cool and as real as possible,” Siriano told The Cut way back in November. “It’s going to be really serious, like not so campy. There are a lot of moments that are just silent and like working and like really how serious the business is, because it’s really hard, it really is.”
Here’s a sneak peak:
*We’ve been informed by Steven Kamali’s publicist that he was also 24 years old when named to the list in 2006