Monday night, First Lady Michelle Obama spoke to the Democratic National Convention about her past eight years in the White House. While her speech made a clear statement about her support for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, her choice of dress also made a subtle statement about her support for another person: designer Christian Siriano.
Although this is just the second time Obama has worn a Siriano design to a public event, his name might not be household yet. Here’s five things you need to know about the designer:
1. He found fame as a contestant on “Project Runway.”
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Siriano is arguably the most successful designer to emerge from the reality competition show; he won the fourth season in 2008. His final collection of the show included Musketeer-inspired fashion.
2. Obama first wore his designs earlier this month
Siriano announced on his Instagram that the First Lady wore a piece from his spring 2016 collection to the funeral for the police officers killed in Dallas. He wrote, “A somber and very tragic occasion, but I am honored she chose our look for the day. It’s the first time she’s worn something of my design, so for me this is an incredibly bittersweet moment.”
3. He fits into Obama’s tendency to wear designs from up-and-coming artists
The New York Times writes that Obama “has made something of a secondary cause out of supporting new, independent American designers.” Siriano, although growing more popular with celebrities, still fits into that mold.
Born and raised in Maryland, he started designing clothes at 13 years old. While he was rejected from the Fashion Institute of Technology, he worked his way to the top through apprenticeships at Alexander McQueen and Vivienne Westwood before finally getting his break on “Project Runway.”
4. He makes a point of designing for any woman
When “Ghostbusters” actress Leslie Jones prepared for her the movie’s premiere, she complained that she couldn’t find a designer — implying that it was either because of her 6-foot-tall frame, her older age (48) or her race. (Jones isn’t a stranger to sexist and racist comments; on July 18, she exposed some of the nastier messages she received on Twitter.)
Siriano came to the rescue. He designed an off-the-shoulder red stunner for Jones’ premiere. One commenter praised: “Thank you for stepping up and showing out. She rocked in this red dress. Just started following you because of your offering to design her dress.”
Siriano also designs a low-cost brand of shoes and bags for Payless, proving his love for fashion isn’t just for celebrities, either.
5. He designed the dresses for his own wedding
Siriano tied the knot with Brad Walsh on July 9, and while the grooms wore black, the women in the wedding party all wore white dresses designed by Siriano. Wedding guests — all of whom wore white — included actors Alicia Silverstone, Danielle Brooks (who performed a musical piece) and Christina Hendricks.
Kate Miller: 816-234-4077, @_Kate_Miller_