chrisitan siriano spring 2011 new york fashion week runway show dresses

Three feminine frocks on Christian Siriano's Spring 2011 runway. Photos: Frazer Harrison, Getty Images

DESIGNER: Christian Siriano

INSPIRATION: The rich cultures of Africa, India, and China all rolled into one.

TOP LOOKS: A silver textured cocktail dress cinched with an antique beaded belt and artfully draped chiffon sash; an antique silver-beaded, V-neck, floor-length gown with an asymmetrical ruffled front; a dramatic strapless buff evening dress with a sparkling embellished belt and huge billowing tulle ruffles reminiscent of the best Monique Lhuillier wedding gowns

ACCESSORIES:
Chunky, multistrand, African-inspired silver beaded necklaces; another Payless collection of dramatic and towering cutout heels constructed of wood (some pieces shaped like chopsticks -- hello, Asia!) and embellished with faux snakeskin print and shiny red metallics

WHO WAS THERE: Alan Cumming, Leigh Lezark, songstress JoJo, Phillip Bloch, "30 Rock" star Katrina Bowden, the New York Times's Cathy Horyn

WHAT WE THOUGHT: With a front row speckled with top editors, it's clear the 24-year-old "Project Runway" alum is being taken more seriously than other reality show-birthed celebrity designers.

Again using exotic locales as inspiration (last season was the Mediterranean, this season Africa, India, and China), Siriano focused on shiny snakeskin prints in bright red and blue hues that struck us as a little dated (especially the shiny red snakeskin trousers), while he excelled at the more gentle buff-hued cocktail frocks featuring delicate folding, antiqued silver sequins, and asymmetrical ruffles (Siriano, you'll recall, has never met a ruffle he didn't like).

While he stepped out of the evening zone every now and again with safari jackets, trenches, and expertly tailored trousers, the crowd rightfully oohed and ahhed over the bold gown finale, which featured Siriano's signature volume, balloon hems, and a new trick -- huge, asymmetrically draped tulle clouds with rough raw edges.

StyleList is your source for New York Fashion Week. Read our runway reviews and backstage beauty reports. Gawk at fashionable celebrities. Watch our video interviews with style personalities. Ruminate on it all with our roundups of Spring 2011 trends.