Gone are the dark days for Christian Siriano. His spring girl is a traveler with attitude in search of unusual finds at the sea dressed in bright, airy coral pink, chartreuse and citrus.
And she was wrapped Saturday at New York Fashion Week in miles and miles of crepe, chiffon and sheer organza.
Siriano was going for thrown-together chic in effortless pairings of jersey stripe T-shirts and long, body-hugging skirts that flounced at the floor. Wide-legged crepe pants had easy drawstring waists and cropped beachcombers were matched with crepe blouses that had capes.
"I was looking at photographs of these really interesting underwater specimens, like acorn barnacles and other corals," he said before the show. "They're beautiful and have such color and light. I started thinking of this kind of girl who would travel to these places to find these interesting things."
Spirals of pleat work at the yoke flashed in a swingy razor-pleat cocktail dress in bright lemon. A long A-line skirt worn with one of his stripe boatneck T-shirts was adorned with tide pool swirls of applique in the color of oysters.
"Christian is all about the tailoring, feminine details, but always sharp, really sharp," said Nina Garcia, who turned out on the front row with fellow "Project Runway" judge Heidi Klum to support the show's 2008 winner.
Siriano's boyhood interest in costume design and experience as a creator of wedding gowns were evident in a parade of looks fit for a ball, including a coral strapless gown with tulle applique.
Chiffon was made to look like barnacles in overlays and edging, and at the shoulder of a capped-sleeve blouse in coral.
He said last season's collection was "very dark and hard and harsh." He wanted spring to be "super effortless, this kind of cool, chic girl."
Strange sea creatures weren't the only inspirations. There's also Katharine Hepburn's spinster on holiday in Venice in David Lean's 1955 film "Summertime."
"She wears a lot of these very iconic pieces, striped men's oversized silk blouses with tailored pants, and pleated gowns," he said. "It's a very summer, travel, lighthearted feeling. Nothing is forced."