Christian Siriano talks about interior design, a new hotel and a restaurant project – WWD

With another awards season done and dusted, Christian Siriano is polishing a variety of interior design projects and building on his fashion brand.

Over the coming year, Siriano has commercial and residential interior projects on the agenda, ranging from a hotel in California to “simply beautiful homes,” according to his own account. The London West Hollywood hotel is due for completion early next year, and the designer and his team are also working on interiors for a new restaurant in New York. Siriano has also redesigned the Chagrin Falls Inn in Ohio which will be unveiled this spring. Last year, his company launched furniture to see if people would like it and ended up with a few thousand orders for items such as the $795 Lily stool and a $1,795 dining chair. $. It is currently sold exclusively on 1stDibs.com and through Siriano’s signature and interiors websites. This summer, other styles, including larger ones like a custom sofa, will be introduced.

In an interview on Wednesday, the designer said of juggling interiors and fashion design, “I love the balance. I love the same [approach] fashionable. We dress the most fabulous celebrities on the red carpets of the world and we have royalty and first ladies. But we also have great and ordinary women who want to buy a cool dress. This is what I have always liked in my company and in my universe. And that’s always been important to me.

After designing the interiors of his 6,000+ square foot home in Connecticut, Siriano recently purchased another home in the state which he is redesigning. Expansion into other licensed home products is underway, including an upcoming paint collaboration. The designer’s clothing business is also growing with an eco-loungewear collaboration that should be released soon.

Regarding the differences between his company’s apparel and interiors businesses, Siriano said, “One of the good things and the biggest change in [working in] interior design industry is that we don’t spend any of our own money. We are not advancing anything. It’s a big problem. It’s a big difference. People don’t realize that. When I talk to people in interiors, they say, “We don’t buy a single item until the customer has paid.”

It’s not like in fashion, where “we’re at the forefront of everything — every retailer, every partner, every dress we make,” Siriano said. “I still have retailer invoices from four years ago that have not been paid. We no longer sell wholesale at all. I will never do it again. It’s just not the business to grow, build and survive, especially for a young brand. I tell so many people now, “It’s direct to the consumer.” You’re not going to get there any other way.

When it comes to favorite architects and interior designers, Siriano singled out his friend Kelly Wearstler. The Downtown LA Proper Hotel, the Westfield Century City, the chocolate flagship Compartes in Los Angeles, the Bergdorf Goodman Restaurant and the Four Seasons Anguilla are some of the properties she has worked on. Siriano said, “I’ve admired his work for so long. What I admired is that she really went from being a residential designer to being an absolutely great commercial designer doing hotels all over the world. She definitely inspires my business opportunities here to do both things.

Connecticut artist Meighan Morrison is another favorite, as are Gigi Collins and her friend Ashley Longshore, who has an interest in Pop Art. “I have a list that I try to shop for customers all the time,” he said.

A sofa from Christian Siriano’s furniture line.
Courtesy of Christian Siriano

Although he likes to be busy, Siriano said immersing himself in the world of interiors, designing furniture and buying art for himself and his clients provides “a great release” from the pressure of life. fashion industry. “There are so many eyeballs on you. Everyone judges a dress at all times. So interior design is actually my break,” he said.

The 36-year-old Maryland native’s interdisciplinary approach to design stems from his interest in different worlds. Before becoming the youngest winner of “Project Runway” Season 4, Siriano studied at American InterContinental University in London and later worked for Vivienne Westwood and Alexander McQueen. The fine arts were his focus before fashion. Always intrigued by art, he considers himself “a curious person who likes to try new things. And sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t. What I’ve found is that when I really love something like interiors, I really put everything I can into it. This is usually when it becomes successful.

With Christian Siriano Interiors, the designer saw a lot of crossover with fashion, in terms of colors, textures and artistry. All the elements that inspire her fashion business also inspire her interiors. Now “sort of in the furniture-making business,” Siriano said he wasn’t really ready for it. “But we like a challenge and it’s been great,” he added.

“A big antiques buyer,” said Siriano, who also loves auctions and loves buying vintage furniture with a predilection for French and Italian design from the 1940s and 1950s. These purchases can be inspirational or of change. “Then we’ll take the leg from one chair and the shape of an arm from another chair,” he said, adding that imagination is always a factor. “There is trial and error. Sometimes I’ll just draw on a piece of paper and we’ll try to do it.

Some of his signature furniture can be found in the designer shop and in the revamped Chagrin Falls Inn. “It’s kind of nice because then we don’t have to shop with other people. I can create it myself,” he said.

The project in Chagrin Falls involved professional and personal relationships. One of its employees has a connection to the 15-room inn, and Siriano’s boyfriend and many friends are from Ohio. “I felt it was a fun idea. But when they pitched it to me, I thought, ‘Wow, this is such a great opportunity to design such a beautiful, historic inn that really serves this city.’ They are booked every day and needed a facelift and a redesign,” Siriano said. “I was excited for the challenge. It was truly an explosion.

After handling the entire redesign remotely via Zoom, Siriano plans to head to Ohio the week before the grand reopening for “a massive installation.” He and his team made much of the furniture, including custom pieces, artwork, tapestries and pillows, all imagined for the space. “What’s also cool is that people will stay there and they’ll be in this custom-designed Christian Siriano space. I hope they will feel inspired. he said. While some hotels offer guests the option to purchase select items like the Four Seasons with its signature mattress, that’s not in the cards at the Inn at Chagrin Falls. “Listen, if we get any purchase requests, fabulous. But we really did this to be a little more classic. You just walk in and stay in a beautiful place,” he said.

Inn managing partner Molly Gebler noted that Chagrin Falls dates back to 1844 and has produced talents such as Pixar’s Lee Unkrich, “Riverdale” actor Casey Cott, actor Tim Conway and cartoonist Bill Waterson. Gebler said of his work with Siriano: “It’s an iconic place and I just spilled my guts out to him in my email. I sent tons of pictures of the hostel and Soriano, and he said “yes”. I was dazzled.”

Chagrin Falls Inn

Chagrin Falls Inn
Photo by Heidi Mazanec Courtesy

Siriano embellished the burgundy and hunter green interiors of the late 1980s with lighting, lighter paint colors, cool artwork and furniture. “I was so amazed at his ability to keep a desk we had for 40 years and complete it with a new office chair, when someone else would have said, ‘We need a new desk. ‘” Gebler said. “He sent all the paint, the fixtures, the lighting – all that stuff. They were great at working with our budget. We are not millionaires. They respected that and it’s wonderful. It’s so exciting for our group of hostels and restaurants and for the village.

The hostel phones have already been ringing non-stop, Gebler said. Siriano should be present at the block party scheduled for the hostel’s open house on May 13. For a village that is the size of three football pitches end to end, she said: “We are humble, to be honest with you. We are a small town in the United States. All day yesterday we said, “We are so lucky. And he’s a great designer. We’re excited to be able to show everyone what he’s capable of.

Betty K. Park