Christian Siriano has won many hearts and minds, and in such a way that the bodies attached to them unabashedly stand and cheer at the end of his show, while those with money go to Neiman Marcus and buy his eveningwear. Still, his quest to be taken seriously continues.

Today marked his second season working with stylist Danielle Nachmani—a girl trusted by the Olsen twins to find something to wear for the Met Gala. Backstage, Siriano cited Katharine Hepburn as inspiration—an unexpected reference. (Certainly she could be described as fierce, but not the way he means it.) The first half of the show reflected that no-nonsense glamour in simple shapes like T-shirts belted into lean bias skirts, and crisp white shirting with paper-bagged palazzo pants, hopped up by acid hues. Nothing groundbreaking, but nothing offensive either.

And suddenly, it seemed as though Siriano couldn't bear the restraint anymore, and in rolled a storm of flocked tulle and organza, capped off by a dramatic finish of dimmed lights and streaming models. The crowd ate it up. It's what they were waiting for. But it didn't exactly help his case.

Getting the respect that Siriano wants will require more than heeding a cool stylist. But you have to ask the question: Does he need it? In fashion's new landscape, editors and designers are scrambling for the reality-TV stardom that Siriano already has in spades. Perhaps all he needs is a change of perspective.