Christian Siriano is already known as one of the most forward-thinking, inclusive designers in the business. Yet he always manages to find new ways to open up his brand to even more shoppers. That’s why his latest collection is available in sizes 0 to 28, priced under $200, and created in partnership with a retailer that probably has a store near you: J. Jill.
Siriano’s connection to J. Jill goes all the way to the top—to president and CEO Linda Heasley, who previously headed up Lane Bryant and tapped the designer for a collaboration back then, in spring 2016. “We were looking for something that was for a lot of different types of people. When Linda and I were chatting, I loved that this would be even more diverse. With Lane Bryant, it was a plus-size collection. This is 2 to 28,” he tells Glamour.
Of all the ways Siriano has trail-blazed the fashion industry, the way he’s embraced collaborations—and, specifically, mass-market ones—stands out. From the very beginning, he’s been partnering with brands to bring his point of view to different categories and price points: He did that with Lane Bryant (for plus sizes), with Payless ShoeSource (for footwear), and even with Bed Bath and Beyond (for home). “For a long time it was hard because I felt that women who have work and kids couldn’t get something from my brand,” he says. “I want my mom and my sister to be able to go to a store and buy something.” These collections let him do that.
“I never want people to only think of me as a red carpet designer. As a creative person, sometimes you get stuck in what you do and don’t ever branch out. I’ve always wanted the average woman to be able to wear my designs. These collaborations show that I can be quite a diverse designer, which I think is kind of the job: You have to design for all types of people,” Siriano says. Plus, they open doors for him as a business owner: “Collaboration is great for the brand. One job leads to another job, leads to another.” This collection is a case in point.
Though every one of his design pair-ups has its own distinct look and feel (the tulle and embellishment his runways are known for don’t always translate to an affordable price point), there are a few themes that run through all of them and connect them to the greater Christian Siriano brand. There has to be an “idea of romance,” he says: In the J. Jill capsule, that translates into “clothes that have a lot of movement to them—sweeps in skirts, drapes in suits.”
Keeping the retailer’s customer in mind, Siriano’s first collection feels very much centered in workwear, with pieces that can easily be incorporated into an office wardrobe but still feel special enough to wear out for other occasions. There’s a lot of black and white, and then “this kind of electric turquoise moment” that ties it all together. “It’s aspirational, but very attainable,” he says. “We’re giving the J. Jill woman something new, but I still think there’s something that she would be comfortable wearing.” There’s one feature that Siriano is introducing to the retailer with this collection: “The idea of really hugging the body is very different.” Yes, he’s bringing bodycon to J. Jill.
Ahead, check out the first of two collections that Christian Siriano created for J. Jill.