Wearing underwear is a full-time job for Andrew Christian. That could explain the fashionista forgetting about our first scheduled interview – or why, when it happened, he had no idea who we were or why he was doing this.
Maybe he’s just easily distracted. Who wouldn’t be with hot, half-naked models wearing your underwear couture? Such is the life of Christian, an L.A.-based designer who didn’t win Bravo’s “The Fashion Show” – even with the help of his “movie star good looks,” as his bio notes – but tells us he’s better than the “bore” host Isaac Mizrahi called him.
His line, which launched in 1997, began producing contemporary collections – menswear, swimwear, tees and accessories – before he merged into sexy skivvies. Five15 Media, Mojo & More is the first store to carry them locally, and Christian will appear at the trendy Royal Oak gift shop at 7 p.m. Sept. 25 during a meet and greet. And, yes, he’ll sign them.
What kind of underwear are you wearing?
I’m wearing the Almost Naked briefs. You got lucky. You got one that I could tell you.
Which ones can’t you tell me about?
The ones that aren’t released yet, because I have to test them out before we actually go into production with them – so right after the design process I test them out.
What do you test for?
Just fit, comfort, the fabric, the wearability, the durability. People ask me, “What are you wearing?” I’m like, “They’re not released yet, I can’t tell you.”
So you had to try out the Flashback butt-lifting underwear before the public could?
Do you need the Flashback?
Yeah (laughs). I don’t think everybody needs it, but there’s definitely a good percentage of the population out there, like myself, that needs help in that area. I mean, the way I came up with it was: I was at the gym and I saw how people were doing lunges and squats, including myself, trying to get the perfect butt – and it just wasn’t happening.
So you figured, why not make an underwear that can do it for them?
Yeah, it’s like a push-up bra for your butt.
Show-It Technology works similarly – except for your junk. How did that come about?
I wanted to come up with an enhancing garment that was also comfortable to wear all day, because a lot of the things that have come out in the past weren’t very comfortable to wear. (I also wanted) something that didn’t need any sort of assembly. You just put it on, wear it and go. The Show-Its are definitely comfortable to wear all day long – they don’t pinch you in any weird spots.
Had a lot of people expressed interest in making it bigger?
Yeah, of course. It doesn’t matter what size a guy is, he always wants to be bigger.
What new trends have you noticed in underwear fashion?
I see things coming away from prints and what not and just going more into solids and different color combinations, so a lot less kitschy or theme-oriented.
Do you have an underwear fetish?
I didn’t … but I guess I do now (laughs).
I read that you used to buy generic clothes and stylized them yourself because you didn’t have a lot of money for trendy clothes. What was the coolest piece that you made?
I think I was probably around 15 and, I mean, I would do so many crazy things. I would attach broken mirrors to jackets and just really wild, off-the-wall stuff.
Having a mirror with you wherever you went must have been handy.
Exactly – like a walking disco ball.
Why do you think gay men are more into underwear than straight men?
I definitely have more gay clientele. I don’t know. I guess gay guys like showing their underwear more. And I mean, for the most part, they have better bodies, so they want to show it off, right? I mean not always. Not always, but especially in L.A. – so many metrosexuals out here.
What was being on “The Fashion Show” like?
It was good. I got to meet all these great iconic fashion figures like Norma Kamali and Tinsley Mortimer and Fern Mallis. It was fun. You were in there and all you had to think about was fashion and creating.
Did you learn anything from it for your own line?
It’s a TV show. It has nothing to do with real life, even though on the TV show they said “Real fashion for real people” it’s like come on, get real, this isn’t real.
Well, meeting former former Destiny’s Child member Kelly Rowland must’ve been cool at least?
Um, she was alright.
(Laughs) So you probably weren’t too unhappy to be eliminated early from that show.
No, no, no. I was happy I got to be on the show and show my point of view as a designer. It was obvious I shouldn’t have been eliminated on that challenge as the CEO of Manolo Blahnik USA was even defending my design against Isaac (Mizrahi).
Who was your favorite famous underwear model growing up?
Madonna with her cone bustier. I guess I was young as a child. I mean, I guess I was gay as a child.
What’s it like working with all these hot guys?
(Sigh) It’s really difficult. It’s really hard work, but I’m very dedicated.
(Laughs) I’m sure you are.
7 p.m. Sept. 25
Five15 Media, Mojo & More
515 S. Washington, Royal Oak
A model search follows at 10 p.m. at Gold Coast in Detroit. The winner gets $200 in gift certificates for http://www.AndrewChristian.com and entrance into a nation-wide pool for the grand prize, a photo shoot.