Park Place Motorcars of Dallas turned into a mini Bryant Park last night for Fresh Faces of 2011 Fresh Focus Reveal, a fundraiser for the Suicide Crisis Center of Dallas. The dealership rolled out the shiny, new 2011 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Cabriolet, but the main event was a fashion show featuring the fall collection from Project Runway alum Christian Siriano.
The designs were dramatic and were paired with even more dramatic shoes of preposterous heights. The juxtaposition of the high, chunky shoes to the gorgeous fabrics with incredible trains and petal details was stellar. Beautiful women, like stick thin show ponies, tromped down the runways managing appropriately bored expressions.
"You can't tell who's in the show because there are so many beautiful people here tonight," the host said as he said hello to the packed room. It was quite the see-and-be-seen crowd: Jan Strimple, Greg Asher, DeeDee Lee, Yvonne Crum. You get the idea.
After the runway show, everyone was itching to speak to Siriano, and I was able to bend his ear for a few minutes before he was off and running. He's as tiny as you imagine and very nice, though a few seconds in the hallway isn't the best opportunity to get a real feel for someone.
Siriano told me he's visited Dallas for the Two x Two for AIDS and Art for the last three years in a row. He's very impressed with the fashion here, of course. "Everyone here really pulls it out," he said.
Celebrities have already worn Siriano's designs, but he still wishes two particular leading ladies would try him on: Drew Barrymore and Cate Blanchett. "They're at the top of my list," he said.
As for those with dreams of following in Siriano's footsteps he said, "For me it's about finding the great thing you're really good at and making that skill perfect: wedding dresses, evening wear, whatever. Then do your best. After you prove yourself, you can do anything you want."
Siriano said he doesn't have any regrets about doing Project Runway, but now he seems eager to be known for his designs rather than reality television. "It was a great experience, but that was three and a half years ago. I was glad to be able to do it and then be able to break out and succeed on my own. It's a lot of work [being on the show]."
Some things haven't changed as Siriano is still as hands-on and hard-working as ever. "I did fittings 10 minutes before the show. I'm really hands-on. I have to be."
The fierce designer is showcasing his fall collection from noon to 5 p.m. today and tomorrow at Stanley Korshak, and Siriano will be at the store today greeting his fans.