By: Frances Du After gaining notoriety four years ago for his jaw-dropping couture evening gowns on Project Runway (and for abusing the word “fierce”), season four winner Christian Siriano has finally opened his first store in NYC. It’s been a long time coming for the Maryland native whose eponymous fashion line has generated over $1.2 million in the past few years thanks to his innate design ability and strong celebrity endorsements from the likes of Victoria Beckham and Heidi Klum. The 1,000 square foot concept store located on Elizabeth Street in Soho is petite, but beautifully decorated with dark tiles, zebra print rugs, and black lacquer shelves. Floral displays offer brilliant pops of color, keeping the atmosphere light and fun. Ready-to-wear items will be available along with sportswear, which seems like an unusual departure for a designer who's famous for his evening-wear, but Siriano has consistently taken unexpected steps towards advancing his fashion career. Rather than capitalizing right away on his new found fame and opening a gigantic flagship store, Siriano surprised everyone in 2009 by partnering up with Payless Shoes to create affordable and fashion-forward footwear, raising a few perfectly tweezed eyebrows. In a 2011 Guest of a Guest interview, Evan Mulvihill grills the young designer on whether or not the on-going partnership had spurred any harsh criticism. Siriano replies:
“It’s interesting. I think there’s always going to be negativity from somewhere—listen, we have to have it. But honestly, with this collaboration, the people who matter and count are really responsive, because this is really the way that fashion is moving forward. When the economy was really bad, let me tell you, there are some pretty big fashionistas on a budget. So I don’t think anyone can be so negative anymore.”Siriano's knack for being able to predict the demands of the public proves he will continue to have staying force in a fickle fashion industry despite economic downturns.