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Christian Siriano is not your casual Disney fan.
Sure, we all “like” Disney, but the designer, who shot to fame with his fierce work on Season 4 of Project Runway — and has since seen many of his designs walk down the red carpet — takes his love to another level.
“My partner and I, Brad, we go as Disney characters every year,” Siriano told Pret-a-Reporter of his Halloween traditions. “We have been everyone from Ariel and Prince Eric, Cruella De Vil and a dalmatian; we did Babette and Lumiere — that was actually probably my favorite.”
But the fandom doesn’t stop with the elaborate costumes that he and his team labor over during the week before Halloween. The designer created a wardrobe for the pirate fairy in Disney’s Tinkerbell and the Pirate Fairy, and, most recently, was tapped to design a dress for Minnie Mouse as part of Disney and Refinery29’s yearlong celebration of the 88-year-old cartoon as a style icon.
ALL DRESSED UP: Siriano as Tinkerbell (left, 2013), as Babette (center, 2010) and Cruella De Vil (right, 2008)
“Disney just kind of asked if I would want to make a dress for Minnie and I said, ‘Of course! Who wouldn’t?’ It was really easy,” he said during the grand opening of a new retrospective fashion exhibit dedicated to Minnie’s influence on the industry.
Called Minnie Rocks the Dots, the fashion and art installation (open Jan. 23 from 12-8 p.m.) is located in downtown L.A. at The Paper Agency and celebrates the beloved cartoon’s ascent to style stardom as well as her influence on fashion around the world. As part of the yearlong commemoration, Disney has also created select Minnie-themed products (available at Disney parks and stores today), and will unveil collaborations with Kate Spade, Sephora and Uggs throughout the year.
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Yet in the midst of the Disney-filled room, which was decorated wall-to-wall in Minnie-inspired gowns, paraphernalia — and even Minnie herself — Siriano couldn’t relax completely. It is awards season, after all.
“It’s very annoying,” he remarked of the busy time. “It’s just so much work being right around fashion week. But it’s great — it’s a good problem to have.” Most recently, the designer outfitted first-time Golden Globe-winner Rachel Bloom, as well as Gabourey Sidibe.
“It is [an exciting time for the red carpet],” he remarked of the diversity of age and shape of women on the carpet. “I mean, I wish they would take a little more risks, but it’s hard. Now that everyone’s a critic on Instagram, on Twitter, social media has changed what people want to wear because they’re scared a little bit.”
“There’s no in-between,” he added of the commenters‘ relentless criticism. “[They’re] like, ‘Oh my God! It’s so horrible!’ And I’m like, ‘But is it? It’s a dress. She’s not hurting you. She didn’t come out of the TV and telling you I don’t like you.’”
Nonetheless, the designer will push through — he already has plans for SAGs and the Oscars, which he’s keeping under wraps for now.
The Paper Agency: 1050 S Olive Street, Los Angeles, 90015
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Melvin Van Peebles