The latest trend in fashion could be coming to Connecticut.
The state has consistently been impacted by an exodus from big cities, driven by the pandemic. Everything from housing to rent, to office, retail and restaurant space has seen demand.
Now that is translating to the fashion world, as designer Christian Siriano opens a high-end boutique in Westport.
There was a star-studded grand opening last Wednesday at the standalone store, called The Collective West.
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“We had over 300 people in this space, and nothing got broken!” Siriano said.
It was a party most would expect to see in SoHo.
“We had, you know, some of my famous actress friends like Laura Linney came and Debra Messing and Katie Holmes, and it was so amazing. They came, you know, hours from New York,” Sirano said.
Nonetheless, it’s not a New York scene: it’s more than 50 miles outside of the Fashion Capital.
"A Christian Siriano clothing world in Connecticut,” Siriano said. “I really wanted to do something cool and unique and different for what's in Connecticut.”
The Collective West is home to whimsical designs from various young designers and brands, carefully curated by Siriano.
“You can find pieces from my collection, things that we've been doing for years, really fabulous, beautiful silhouette,” he said. “But also what's great is that it's really a curation of so many cool brands, some that are local to Connecticut.”
While it brings high-end fashion closer to home, Siriano is not cutting ties to his New York Studio.
“My studio is still in SoHo. It’s nice to have the balance,” he said. “I still keep my life in the city as well, but it's the best of both worlds. And I think a lot of people are doing that.”
However, Siriano, who has been seen on “Project Runway,” can now be spotted on the streets of Westport, after buying a house and making it his adopted hometown.
“In the pandemic, so many of my fellow New Yorkers all moved here to live their life. So, you know, it really is about quality of life. But that doesn't mean you have to sacrifice fashion," Siriano said.
Angeli Gianchandani, professor of marketing at the University of New Haven, said Siriano's professional and personal move to Westport could help distinguish Connecticut as a fashion destination, much like the Hamptons.
When you think of the Hamptons, you see a lot of the designers are out there, and they're usually out there for the season. But through the pandemic, you've seen these stores in East Hampton, they're so busy, because people have stayed," Gianchandani said.
“For him to be there, he's creating and inspiring so many others to come,” she continued. “Just knowing him, his whole community of friends, whether it's the restaurants or the fashion world, you're going to see more people follow him.”
She believes it could spur innovation.
“The world is changing. It's not a one-size-fits-all. And being able to be outside of the New York City area, it inspires his creativity and other designers’ creativity,” Gianchandani said.
Siriano, proving with his boutique there is a new way to be a trendsetter.
“There really isn't a lot of, you know, high-end designer spaces here,” Siriano said. “The customer out in Connecticut, even though maybe she's relaxing and enjoying life, she still wants to look cool. So I think that that's why we wanted to do it.”