NEW YORK — While trends come and go, animal prints never go out of style. Designers continually come back to lion, tiger and zebra stripes to punch a wardrobe. For fall, Christian Dior designer Raf Simons abstracts animal prints in distinctive hues for a different take. Christian Siriano is a bit more traditional, with an interpretation based on a dream he had about a Congo rainforest. But the 29-year-old designer, who trademarked the phrase "fierce" as Project Runway winner, has a few tricks up his sleeve.
Siriano opens his collection with a sheath dress, coat and jacket in a brown-and-black tiger wool cashmere pattern — the outerwear has big collars that extend to the shoulders and could be raised to cocoon the head — and later shows a cropped blouse, skirt, gown and cape blouse in a metallic gold-and-black zebra design.
Siriano always has a flair for the dramatic, which shines though in his big ball gowns in an African floral pattern.
The zebra pattern shows up again in two-tone rust shades with modern tailoring, as with a banded figure-flattering sheath with a square neckline. A crop top and skirt in contrasting leopard jacquard fabric or a mini-dress covered in a tulle overlay that sweeps the floor have a hip "rumble in the jungle" attitude.
Siriano always has a flair for the dramatic, which shines though with his big ball gowns in an African floral pattern. The shapes are vintage Siriano — he usually closes his collection with a series of hoop-skirt gowns — but this time the colors are more vibrant, with metallic-hued flowers bursting on a teal or brown shaded background.
Even more striking is an illusion blouse inspired by the orange-hued heliconia plant and a gown of petal appliques inspired by an African tulip tree.
Siriano, who has a long-term relationship with Payless Shoes, has some fun with footwear, too, with wedges in colorful tribal patterns, animal print sandals and open-toe slip-ons with tufts of fur.