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WESTPORT, Conn. — Christian Siriano, who turned his atelier into a mask-making machine, took to his Connecticut backyard Thursday for a cozy fashion show complete with picnic baskets for his small in-person crowd, masks on the faces of his models and a dip in his pool for pregnant muse Coco Rocha in a tight red gown with a train.

"We just needed an escape," he told The Associated Press after his cheery parade of ball gowns, prints that included panels from comic books and looks emblazoned in black and white with a simple message: "VOTE."

For the rest of the fashion industry, Siriano livestreamed the show on a sunny, mild day, with his garden as backdrop and his grass as runway. It was a rare New York Fashion Week show to include physical guests, something he said both he and his clothes sorely required.

"I was scared people weren't going to come all the way out here," he said. "I just felt like my clothes, they need to be seen, and I've been sitting at home depressed. Really, I just wanted to have some fun."

Siriano's spring-summer collection, not quite as expansive as usual, was inspired in part by some of the things he's been doing in quarantine, watching movies that he loved as a child ("The Wizard of Oz" and "Clueless" among them), reading old comic books his mom sent, and painting and sketching in the home he moved into in April. His new digs have already made it into Architectural Digest.

The daisies in his garden led him to dangle flowers that bounced on a sunny yellow tulle gown. His comic books became gray and black cartoon panes on a trouser and jacket set.

Siriano has been cooking more in quarantine, shopping for produce at a farmer's stand near home.

Like so many others in fashion, the pandemic hasn't been easy for Siriano business wise. He quickly converted his operations to making masks for essential workers (about a million so far) after the pandemic hit, but he had to furlough workers and close a store.

So how has he survived in quarantine?

"Staying in this house, and just trying to create," Siriano said. "Doing this, honestly, is what got me through it. I was sketching every day, just trying to play around."


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