Christian Siriano Talks Fierce Maternity Design with CBB

Christian Siriano is a pint-sized powerhouse. After nabbing the title of Project Runway winner in 2008, he skyrocketed to fame, designing for the biggest names in Hollywood and becoming a celebrity in his own right. But he’s never forgotten his roots. Though the 23-year-old designer has his own line and regularly shows at New York Fashion Week, he still designs with two of his original partners, and recently, launched a maternity line with them, called Fierce Mamas for Moody Mamas.

Christian recently spoke to CBB about his maternity design work, and his picks for the most stylish celebrity moms!

CBB: How did Fierce Mamas come about?

Christian Siriano: I have these two crazy girlfriends – I went to college in London with one of them – and we worked together when we worked at the label Riser Goodwyn, and they said it’d be interesting if we did a ready-to-wear collection together, making it sassy, making it fun and calling it Fierce Mamas. We wanted it to be clothes for an untapped market of fabulousness. There are tons of amazing, chic women out there who are going to have a baby sooner or later, and what do they wear? When we were designing we wanted it to be maternity, but also for that woman who is gaining a little weight at the beginning and losing a little weight at the end. So there are pieces you can wear even after you’ve had your baby. That was the goal.

Did you have an interest in maternity before this?

No, never! It was just something they asked me about, and of course, if I wasn’t into it or didn’t think it was interesting, I wouldn’t have done it. But I think it’s cool, it’s new and different and great for me to be able to dress different types of women and different sizes, and it’s completely different from my collection in that it’s marketable at a very low price point and accessible for that everyday woman. I thought it was far enough away from my brand that I’m building, and still something new and different to do!

What else sets Fierce Mamas apart from other maternity lines?

Our big thing is fabrication, and that’s one element that maternity sometimes suffers with: Fabrications can sometimes not feel the best, or aren’t the highest quality because they’re worn for a certain amount of time and are then over – it’s a disposable wardrobe in a way for some people. We tried not to go that way: We still use silk charmeuse, and beautiful silk jersey because they feel amazing. But the price points are still low because of the quantities that we ship, so we’re able to cut costs that way. So that’s a big part of us: The fabrications feel luxurious. We use some of the same fabrics we use in my ready-to-wear clothes, which retail for more. We wanted to keep that luxe feel in this line.

What are the chief differences between your non-maternity designs and your maternity designs?

A couple of the pieces have built-in nursing bras – that’s’ a big difference! There’s a lot of construction that goes into maternity wear, too. We have expandable belts that are built into some of the dresses, which don’t look like they would be until you see them on the inside of the dress. The shapes are different, too: Some are straight, simple and boxy, but some are fitted empire, fitted for the belly and things we don’t do in my ready-to-wear pieces. There are elements that don’t work in maternity that work in ready-to-wear – it’s a whole design process that’s different.

For maternity, I can do things I don’t necessarily want to do. I love using these fun, flirty prints. And we do a lot of prints, a lot of texture and pattern in that way – plaid, hounds tooth, herringbone – which I don’t use too much in my ready-to-wear collection. It’s kind of fun.

What’s your favorite thing about designing for the pregnant body?

I think my favorite part is that the shapes are almost easy and whimsical, and I like that. I like designing for that shape, because it’s an odder shape that’s hard to understand, but once you get it down you find your niche – we like really frilly, flirty dresses, and great separates like a great knit top. We mix it up so it’s not all dresses or just one type of piece, because I like variety. But the pregnant shape is interesting and it’s new, and we’re still learning what these women like and what they really love. I like that challenge.

What’s the most popular size you sell for Moody Mamas?

We sell a lot online, and the online shopper is a little smaller – maybe a 2 or a 4. But in maternity sizes, that’s almost a Medium or Large in their new body. The stores that carry the collection are looking for a larger size because a lot of women like to cover up and not show their arms, so there we have an 8 to 14 that sells the most. We’re making that accessible with cute dresses that have a little bit of a sleeve, and some are short, some are long.

Do you have anyone in your life who is an inspiration for your maternity clothes? Any pregnant friends or relatives right now?

I have a few pregnant friends, and I sent them some pieces. It’s really fun to see their reaction, find out what they like and what they don’t like. And also, I like that some of our pieces are for that woman who’s had the baby but still has [the baby] weight. My mom is not a skinny mini, she’s curvy in her shape, and I like that she can wear a couple of the tops. A lot of things are built in for the pregnant or post-pregnant belly, but some of the pieces you can wear even if you’re just a larger size. So it’s fun, something new for me. I like to reach that broader audience. My fan base is a huge variety coming off Project Runway – I have great new customers and clients, but I still have that fan base that’s such a variety that just wants a piece of the brand.

What can we expect from the line this year?

The new collection is very, very wearable this year, and there’s a lot to choose from. There are a lot of different styles, which is popular in maternity anyway; you do one blouse, and it comes in four different fabrics and 10 different colors. We’re trying to give you a lot to choose from, because sometimes you’re a little moodier when you’re pregnant and you need tons of options – that’s just how it works! So variety is big for fall. Also, fall’s tough when you’re pregnant because you don’t have the same temperature levels that everyone else has – you’re hot and cold all day long – so sleeve lengths vary from long to short to three-quarters. We wanted to give women lots of options.

Do you have tips for our readers – besides buying your line! – for looking fierce during their pregnancies?

My tip is that you have to keep staple pieces from whatever line you’re buying. You always have to have a great everyday dress – I love a jersey knit dress you can wear every day casually. Also, get a great dress for evening, a great blouse. I think it’s important to style yourself a little bit. I always like it when people throw on a cute pair of flats if they can. If you’re tired and overworked and want to throw on that cute nothing black dress, throw on a cute leopard flat and a fabulous bag. You’re still living your normal life, it’s just a little more exciting now. Don’t lose your entire fashion sense! And if you don’t have one to begin with, it’s the perfect time to create one for yourself.

Finally, which celebrity moms had the best maternity style?

I think the celebrity moms that have looked their best are Katie Holmes, Nicole Richie, and of course the one and only Angelina!

— Danielle

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