Even after rocking a dozen showings at New York Fashion Week and dressing names like Sarah Jessica Parker, Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift and Victoria Beckham on the red carpet, Christian Siriano still has his share of stress.
So just days before showing his Fall 2014 collection, he and his team are listening to a lot of Lorde, Lana Del Rey and Sarah McLachlan when putting the finishing touches on the Parisian-inspired pieces at his newly-expanded design studio in New York City's Chelsea neighborhood.
"I like pretty and calm, soft even," he tells Pret-a-Reporter. "I've been listening to Katy Perry's 'Spiritual' every morning, when I get ready, because it's calming and beautiful. It's been putting me in a really great mood this season." So much so that he's even found time to offer a few perks to an Indiegogo campaign (set up by fiance/electronic music producer Brad Walsh and fashion writer Nicolette Mason) to raise funds for Step Up Womens Network before his show on Saturday
We supposed that the CFDA designer knows a thing or two about beats, both on and off the runway. And we were right. So in honor of #MusicMonday, Siriano shared what he listens to when prepping for his New York Fashion Week showing (and the launches of his eyewear line in March and namesake fragrance later this year), told us what the secret is to working with your music-producer partner, and also passed along a playlist of our very own. Check out the calming collection below:
How integral is the music to your upcoming collection?
Christian Siriano: The collection has a lot of Parisian undertones because it's inspired by a French photographer, Fernand Fonssagrives; his wife Lisa is our muse of the season. She's "lady," but we want her to be cool, and have a stylish feeling. When Brad and I were talking about the music, we like songs from Miss Kittin. All of her sounds have a little bit of a French undertone, but with a little rock or electro. We have some of her, and then he's creating something original, like he always does. It's a lot of energy.
What is usually the strategy for putting together a soundtrack for a show?
Siriano: I like singers, but in a show, sometimes it feels like you're at a concert, so I don't always like too much vocal. But that depends on the season -- When we had our Russian opera season, we wanted an opera singer.
But when you have fittings or clients, you have to have an atmosphere. Right now, I'm on a Garbage Pandora station fix because we're having a '90s moment now, but then sometimes, during Market Week, we play classical because we want it to feel elegant for all the buyers. For model castings, I play the gayest music ever -- Madonna, Britney Spears, Rihanna -- because I want everyone to have energy. You have 200 girls hanging around, you can't have it be awkward. It all depends on who's here and what's happening that week.
What are some of the struggles when working with your partner on a creative venture?
Brad Walsh: [looks at Siriano] Him. He knows what he likes, but he has no idea how to express it, which is very frustrating.
Siriano: Only in music, because I don't know what things mean. If I were working with some other producer, we wouldn't fight like we fight -- but then again, I wouldn't say the things that I say.
Walsh: And we would have meetings during the day, not at 10 p.m. after a long day.
Siriano: We always work on the music from 10 at night to 1 in the morning, so we're always tired of each other.
Walsh: But it always works, after 6 years, 11 or 12 seasons. I know what he wants now too. Also, I don't work well with other people in music. Every collaboration I've ever done, I do remotely. I do not write songs well with people, but he's the only person I can really work with, because neither one of us is afraid to say what we really want to say. Like, if you were to make a dress with me -- I mean, I'm no designer -- you'd say, "No, that's stupid, why would you say that?" But anyone else, you couldn't say that.
What is the last concert you went to?
Siriano: Brad used to go a lot, but now, we go see friends. We saw the B-52's and the Go-Gos, because we know them, but I had never seen them before and I thought they were amazing.
Walsh: And we saw Jay Z at Barclays. He was amazing.
Siriano: We clearly were intoxicating and having fun, but it was a great show. He kept you captivating and he doesn't do anything. No set -- that I thought was really an accomplishment. And I don't even know his music very well, but I really liked it.
What concert are you looking forward to next?
Siriano: We're making a trip to Vegas for Britney. She doesn't really sing, but who cares? That's what so genius. If you think about Britney, she doesn't even do press, or go places, on talk shows -- and she's still the top earner. We're gonna do that around Brad's birthday in June.
Do you have ideas about the music for your upcoming wedding?
Walsh: I do sometimes; I make a little mental note. I think no matter what we do, it's going to be small and private, and I would like a friend to sing, more than a DJ or something.
Siriano: We were watching Downton Abbey last night, and they were having a party with a classical string orchestra outside in the garden. So I would love if the reception is very lady-debutante, and then the party is like, out of control. I want to be booty-dancing! I want really beautiful, chic, gloves, amazing, and then I want it to be low-down dirty. Wouldn't that be amazing to have the two? Because that's who we are! It'd be really, really, really fun.