IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Why Christian Siriano was ‘freaking out’ when the Met Gala dress code was announced

Plus, he shares how he preps for fashion's biggest night.
Shane LaVancher

Since his win on "Project Runway" in 2008, Christian Siriano has become a major force in the fashion world. His designs have been worn by today's top celebrities to some of the biggest events in fashion, from the Oscars to the Met Gala.

But when “The Garden of Time” dress code for this year's Gala was first announced, Siriano shares with Shop TODAY that he was "freaking out," as he had already created a couple of floral-inspired looks for previous Galas. "So I'm like, 'What am I going to do?'" he tells us. "Like I'm screwed!"

So instead of drawing inspiration from standard florals, he went into "a little bit of a darker place," he says. "The idea of how a flower grows from darkness into the light, that's kind of what I'm doing. It's a little more abstract and mythical and cool."

While he remained tight-lipped about who he would be dressing this year, he did say he's "keeping it a little calmer," as compared to previous years. "We're not going crazy. I had a really crazy Oscars week, we dressed nine people that night. And it's really hard. So I just feel like what's good about the person I'm dressing is they're just really easy and it makes it really nice."

To further celebrate fashion's biggest night, on Monday, May 6, Siriano teamed up with sleep solution brand Unisom to showcase his archival designs along with a custom Unisom-inspired creation — which models will wear while "falling asleep" — at landmarks throughout New York City.

While the Met Gala may be the main thing on fashion lovers' minds right now, beyond the big night, we had to know if there were any current trends that had caught the designer's eye lately. And as it turns out, he's just as obsessed with the latest sport-inspired fashion craze as the rest of us.

"I just dressed Zendaya for the last day of her press tour, and I'm into tenniscore," he says. "I actually think it's kind of cool and now I'm weirdly into it. I think it could be cute all summer."

Below, we asked the designer to walk us through some of his current essentials — including the must-haves he uses to prep for fashion's biggest night.

Shopping Diaries: Christian Siriano

ChapStick Moisturizer Original Lip Balm

One thing he always keeps with him on big days like the Met Gala? "Chapstick — the basic blue Chapstick. Don't judge me, it's good," he says.

NYX Professional Matte Blotting Paper

Along with Chapstick, he also typically keeps his AirPods, a small sketchbook and oil blotting papers on hand.

While he didn't name a specific brand, these affordable blotting papers are said to help you maintain a matte finish while keeping your makeup look intact.

Tresemmé Extra Hold Hairspray

Aveda Air Control Light Hold Hair Spray

When it comes to his skin and hair care routine on the mornings of big events, he tends to be pretty limited on time, which is why he says, "I don't do a crazy regimen."

For his hair, he says, "I use Aveda Hair Control Hairspray and I use Tresemmé Extra Hold hairspray, those are my two go-to's and I love them. That's it — I don't use anything else."

Pilot FriXion Erasable Ink Pens

As for his nightly routine, he makes an effort to stay away from tech before he goes to bed. There's no TV in his bedroom and he adds, "I don't look much more at my phone, because that's my stress."

Instead, he does something more productive. "I sketch a lot before bed," Siriano says. "Sometimes I can do 10 ideas. It could be a sleeve, it could be a silhouette, it could be anything. And I've done that for like 20 years, my whole life. And I have thousands of little sketches."

"I use a heavy piece of paper that's thick — not cardstock but a little bit like cardstock — and then I usually use a Pilot Frixion Pen ... When I was a mentor on Project Runway, we used them and they erase and it is really helpful ... I sketch everything in pen."