American creator Christian Siriano kicked off New York Fashion Week with a gleeful mix of comics, cubism and glamour, in the build up to Sunday's Oscars where he could well triumph.
The young designer, based in New York since he was 22, has become one of the city's biggest fashion attractions over the last few years with the exit of several big names. His outfits are sought out and worn by stars on the red carpet.
This season he drew inspiration from characters and emotions from the DC Comics superhero film "Birds of Prey".
"The whole idea was everybody has a little inner Harley Quinn in them," Siriano, referring to the movie's main character, told AFP before the show.
Quinn, the Joker's former companion, is an extreme anti-hero who sways between good and evil.
The 34-year-old Siriano sought to make her "more romantic, beautiful, elegant" and didn't skimp on the sequins, velvet and shimmering fabric to make his creations shine.
It is par for the course for this master of the spectacle who added his touch of glamour with long robes, padded shoulders and opulent materials, velvet in particular.
The designer also took flamenco by the arm, using its frills and traditional Cordobes hats as well as -- more daringly -- cubism. The last outfits of the collection were all formed of angles.
While designers increasingly ponder the relevance of the catwalk, Siriano is clear: it is part and parcel of what he does.
"Fashion is so hard right now. It's rough. But this is my dream fantasy world. So I feel if we didn't have this some of my clothes wouldn't make sense anymore and that's so sad," he said.
"That's why I get up everyday to do this job because I like the dream world of it."
"I take a lot of risks and I think people are intrigued by that hopefully. You never know who's going to sit front row, you never really what the shapes are going to be. So I hope that gets people coming back."
Hollywood's darling, Siriano is living a high-stakes, high-stress moment, with Thursday's show and the Oscars on Sunday.
"It's the worse. Half my team is at my studio right now," preparing the outfits that will grace Sunday's red carpet.
"It's so hard. It's the hardest we've ever had."(AFP)