“I didn’t choose every major red carpet moment—I didn’t choose every piece that I think people responded the most to,” Christian Siriano tells Glamour about selecting the gowns featured in his first-ever book, Dresses to Dream About, published by Rizzoli and released today. “Some of my favorite dresses in the book are just favorites, that maybe nobody has ever worn. I just like them.”

The designer, who specializes in evening wear and has a longstanding practice of dressing a diverse group of women (regardless of size or background), had almost a decade’s worth of taffeta and silk organza confections to pick from. He’s been pretty much a constant presence in Hollywood circles since he founded his eponymous brand in 2008. Flip through the 223-page book and you’ll come across Christian Siriano gowns you’ll instantly recognize (like the dress Leslie Jones wore to the premiere of Ghostbusters—but more on that later) to others from his archive that mostly had gone unnoticed. Now, in Siriano’s opinion, they’ll have “a little moment to shine.”

As it goes in fashion, so much of how a particular garment is remembered in the public imagination depends on who-wore-it-when—something that Siriano says he’s definitely noticed throughout his career: A gown will go down the runway without much fanfare, but put it on Coco Rocha some months later, and it’s a totally different story. That was the case of the Tk dress she wore as his date to his first-ever CFDA Awards in 2014, now forever documented on Page 36. “It’s funny how one thing can change everyone’s perception—that’s kind of how fashion is in general, so it can be frustrating for a designer,” he says. “But that’s why this book exists, so people can see beautiful things for what they are.”

Dresses to Dream About is as effective at putting the spotlight on these hidden gems within past Christian Siriano collections as it is at showcases the designer’s creative range, showing the over-the-top ball gowns we fawn over on the red carpet alongside some of the quieter silhouettes he’s made expressly for public figures looking to create a powerful image, like Michelle Obama. “[People] know Christian Siriano pieces were kind of big, textured, ruffled confections that I loved to do, which was great, but the work definitely changes,” he explains. Though it manifests in different forms, there’s a common thread to his body of work: “There’s always this fantasy, dream-like thing to everything we do. It’s never this edgy, downtown grungy girl—it comes from a romantic place, I think.”

Ahead, Siriano walks us through some of the most important moments captured in his book and others that didn’t make the cut, but have nonetheless shaped the brand in ways that are otherwise noted in Dresses to Dream About. In the end, they’re all about a simple idea that’s deeply rooted in the designer’s business: “I want to show that all these women can like look beautiful in my clothes. That’s always been really important. Sometimes the challenge becomes making sure that it’s right for the person that I think would want to wear them, [and] to show that you can still have a voice but dress all these different types of people. Hopefully people still think that the clothes look like my brand—that’s what we still work on and we’ll be working on forever. But I like that challenge.”

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