'American Idol' winner: Burberry, for exclusively suiting Ryan Seacrest
Count London-based luxury brand Burberry among the winners of Season 9 of "American Idol." The label was the exclusive provider of the host's on-air wardrobe for all 48 episodes of the season, according to the show's stylist Miles Siggins, the first time any brand has had an exclusive lock on Seacrest's closet door.
"We've done other [wardrobe] deals in past seasons, but they haven't been exclusive," said Siggins, who has been dressing Seacrest for the show's last eight seasons. "And this is the first time everything’s been custom made for him."
The "deal," Siggins refers to is basically this: Burberry kits out Seacrest for the duration of the season, and
in exchange gets on-air wardrobe credit at the end of each episode, not to mention exposure to millions of impressionable American eyeballs. "Ryan already wears Burberry," Siggins explained. "He was wearing it for his E! red carpet coverage, so I decided to approach them -- and they thought the idea was fantastic."
Additionally, by its own reckoning, Burberry dressed the busiest man in host business for the Academy Awards, the Golden Globes, the Emmy Awards and New Years Rockin’ Eve in 2009, as well as this year's Grammys and Golden Globes.
According to Siggins, Seacrest didn't just get wardrobe, he got star treatment from the man himself, Burberry's chief creative officer Christopher Bailey. "Christopher would send over fabric samples and I would work with Ryan to pick the fabrics and silhouettes and Christopher would add his little touch -- and there we have it."
(Bailey and Seacrest also appear to have formed a kind of mutual admiration society; earlier this year, Seacrest gave Bailey an on-air shout-out for getting his Oscar tuxedo to him in time, and each of Seacrest's suits bears a label that states: "To Ryan from Christopher 2010.")
"For the last two years we've been sticking to a range of black, navy blue and gray colors to keep it kind of classic and set him apart from the contestants," noted Siggins. "In the earlier seasons he was dressing a little younger-looking."
And while you may not have noticed it, Siggins described how the host's wardrobe shifted subtly over the course of the season as the crop of contestants narrowed.
"For the small stage – the top 24 contestants -- we go 'smart casual,'" Siggins explained. "And for the big stage with the top 12 [contestants] we go with full custom" suits.
And among the total ensemble, which included some 16 suits, dress shirts, monogrammed pocket squares and a pair of cufflinks designed by Bailey, are two outfits that have yet to see the light of day.
"We've had two custom tuxedos made for [Ryan] to wear [Tuesday and Wednesday nights], one is ink blue – a very dark navy blue traditional English tux, and the other is a very traditional black tuxedo -- both with grosgrain lapels. At first I think he was resisting the dark blue one, but now I think he gets it."Of course, you'll need to tune in to your local Fox station to find out the results. In the meantime, in the spirit of "American Idol," feel free to vote for your choice -- black or blue?
-- Adam Tschorn
Photos: At top, "American Idol" host Ryan Seacrest as he appeared in Burberry over the course of season 9. The London-based luxury label was the exclusive provider of Seacrest's on-air wardrobe for all 48 episodes, the last of which airs on Wednesday. At center, Burberry pocket squares monogrammed with Seacrest's initials. At bottom, cufflinks designed for the host by Burberry's chief creative officer Christopher Bailey. Credit: Burberry.