Christian Siriano's boyfriend, the musician Brad Walsh, wrote a long and impassioned blog post about what he perceives to be the fashion establishment's bias against Siriano's work because he came to prominence on a reality show. Noting that many writers still place Siriano's collections in the context of Project Runway, a show that taped nearly five years ago, mention his Payless shoe collection disparagingly, and at best make back-handed compliments about how Siriano is "shak[ing] off his reality-show roots," Walsh asks, "is it mostly, as I suspect, that he's accomplished all of this without their help? The precious few were told Christian was good — they did not deem him good — which makes their objection to him almost childish." Walsh mentions an encounter with "a reporter from a website that extensively covers fashion" who found the designer, in conversation with Anna Wintour and Carolina Herrera, at the ballet:
When the reporter had her chance at intermission to speak with Christian on the record, her question was "what do you think about mustaches?" The next day, her publication printed Christian's short and bewildered response purposely alongside an unattractive picture of him with his mouth agape, as he was answering the question. Rather than ask "how do you know Carolina Herrera" or "what did you speak to Anna about," she asked "what do you think about mustaches?" To me, that indicates that there's a problem, and it doesn't lie with Christian.
(Googling "christian siriano mustaches" yields a surprising number of results, incidentally, though we were unable to identify this publication or this writer.) Walsh also calls out — but does not name — the work of Meenal Mistry, a Style.com critic who has made some Project Runway digs in her time. But more than any specific writer or publication, Walsh seems interested in critiquing an overall climate of opinion that he regards as lazy and classist — and hypocritical, given that Rachel Zoe and André Leon Talley participate in (much cheesier) reality shows and yet haven't had to hand in their fashion cred cards. (Although it's not true that the stylist Zoe's efforts to launch a licensed clothing line have been met with universal approval from the fashion establishment — it was after all a Teen Vogue editor who called Zoe out for knocking off a vintage dress, a dress that Zoe had actually included years earlier in a shoot for the magazine Zoe herself styled.) Walsh also mentions some critics and publications that have come around to Siriano's work. It's never seemly for a designer to call out a critic (and although Walsh says that Siriano had no input into his post, other than consenting to its being published, he will almost certainly be regarded by some as Siriano's media surrogate), and there are many reasons one could imagine a reporter might ask a source what he thinks of mustaches — not every interview has to be about Serious Issues Of The Day — but Walsh's post is an interesting read. [Brad Walsh]