Christian Siriano for Payless

For someone barely into his third decade of life, Christian Siriano has quite an impressive list of accomplishments. A celebrated fashion designer and member of the revered Council of Fashion Designers of America, he has far surpassed his flashy start as winner of Project Runway’s fourth season, going on to dress big-name celebrities such as Christina Hendricks, Nicki Minaj, and Emily Blunt. At the red carpet for the 88th Academy Awards, Maria Menounos will join his flock, donning Siriano’s custom creation inspired by Stella Artois’ “Buy a Lady a Drink” charity initiative and its limited-edition chalices.

More importantly, however, Siriano peppers his star-studded clientele list with respected fashion icons like Victoria Beckham and Sarah Jessica Parker, gaining the respect of hard-to-please industry critics and establishing himself as more than just a reality show wonder. With a squad of fashion darlings at his behest and a personal brand that reached an estimated $5 million in revenue in four years, Siriano seems the least likely to pair with a mass market, low-cost retailer such as Payless ShoeSource, yet the designer is still creating collaboration collections seven years after first launching with the chain.

His Payless styles speak true to his aesthetic, though, and still reflect the attention to detail and elevated taste for which he became famous on Project Runway. With strategic cutouts, punchy patterns, and thoughtful finishes, the collection is at once relevant, covetable, and, of course, affordable. A few points of concern to note would be that the collection generally runs a half size too large (ordering down easily fixes this) and the quality is what should be expected of Payless shoe. It’s fast fashion. But the style and fit, aside from sizing down, make the pieces worthwhile.

The Liza Lucite Wedge showcases the designer’s care and appreciation of the female form, with a see-through window across the toe and airy cutouts at the sides for breezy comfort. Its grounded wedge style and shiny black hue makes it a clear (no pun intended) choice for the edgy girl, and it’s a fresh alternative to a chunky ankle bootie.

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