At New York Fashion Week, half the fun of attending shows is people watching, both on the street and in the front row, to see which celebrities designer brands stack their benches with for publicity.
There are those who are low-key friends with a designer, say, Millie Bobby Brown and Raf Simons. And then there are those who not just friends, they’re superfans, like Leslie Jones and Christian Siriano.
Like any good friend does, Jones sat front row at Siriano’s latest fashion show, held inside a studio at Chelsea Piers in Manhattan, and cheered him on vigorously. At one point, it was almost more exhilarating to watch the comedian watch the show than it was to watch the show itself.
“I had never been to [a fashion show] before,” Jones told Yahoo Style. “I don’t think I was appropriate though. I think I handled it like a baseball game. I was having a real good time.”
And Jones really came alive whenever Siriano sent out a physically or racially diverse model. “I love plus-size period because that’s realistic, that’s what real women look like. That’s why I love Christian, because he fits all women, all women of color all women of size,” Jones told us.
Jones and Siriano’s friendship has blossomed over the last year. Most recently, Siriano and husband Brad Walsh, who sat front row beside Jones during the spring-summer 2018 show, celebrated Jones’s 50th birthday in September. Before that, Siriano dressed Jones for her Ghostbusters movie premiere, after Jones said in a tweet that no other designer was willing to dress her. (In turn, Siriano responded that he wasn’t seeking praise, rather simply doing his job as a designer to dress all kinds of women.)
Like his friendship with Jones, Siriano’s commitment to dressing women of all shapes and sizes isn’t new. He’s known for, among his penchant for dramatic clothing, casting the most diverse runways during New York Fashion Week (not dissimilar to another project runway alum, Michael Costell). At a Siriano show, you’re not getting tokenism.
In his show notes, Siriano says “I want to celebrate beauty no matter where you come from or what size you are. We are all beautiful.” The casting reflected that ethos: The runway featured not one or two plus-size models, but so much more: There was the ever-gracious Candice Huffine; Huffine’s Universal Standard campaign co-star Georgia Pratt; and headline-making Precious Lee, to name only a few.
As for the clothes, they were bold and bright, a “psychedelic hallucination of what’s inside my fantasy greenhouse,” remarks the designer. Yellow and green and fuchsia tulle dresses swallowed whole the models beneath them, like seductive Venus fly traps.
As for Jones, she said she’d wear every single thing that went down the runway. But only after she hits the gym first.
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Alexandra Mondalek is a writer for Yahoo Style + Beauty. Follow her on Twitter @amondalek.