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New York Fashion Week: Christian Siriano Spring 2011

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    The inspiration? "African, Indian and Chinese influences mixed with measures of elegant opulence." The gowns? Extravagant, regal and stunning.

    Christian Siriano delivered what he does best at his Spring 2011 shows with dramatic red-carpet ready gowns with elaborate embellishments in ruffles and lots of tulle.

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    After mesmerizing the fashion industry with his watercolor print, Siriano unveiled a new pattern which he describes as a signature "Asian fabric print based on digital photographs showing different vantage points of Chinese and Buddhist temples combined with varying perspectives of Indian beading." In a word, captivating.

    The color scheme of paprika, khaki, white and deep red sprinkled with flecks of gold signifies a new modern and refined direction for Siriano, who is possibly courting an older, more conservative woman who invests in luxurious clothes with frequency and without guilt.

    Fashionistas, don't fear - his new shoes for Payless are still intriguing and creative, possessing the same IT factor of his Fall 2010 cone heels.

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    Still, given his source of inspiration (China, Africa, India), the collection left a lot to be desired. The Ready-To-Wear pieces---safari-style jackets, structured dresses, lightweight belted gowns and wide-legged trousers---were staid and safe for a designer of Siriano's caliber. As one attendee remarked, they looked cheap and pre-Project Runway. Ouch.

    I'm always rooting for Christian Siriano and do recognize the need for a designer to create more commercial, wearable pieces in a troubled economy.

    But Siriano was the one who we all counted on to dream and dare when designing (especially given the passing of a genius whom he was often linked to: Alexander McQueen). At least, his gowns offered some modicum of imagination and fancy.

    Take a look at his collection and tell me what you think.

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