Lawrence Zarian: Putting the Curves in Fashion

Written by | Entertainment, Fashion, Lifestyle

Everyone wants Lawrence Zarian. Women want him to dress them, men want to dress like him, both want to date him. Alas, he is too busy for dating but not too busy to make some waves, and plenty of curves, in the world of fashion.

For twenty years, Lawrence has been the on-camera, go-to lifestyle and fashion guy, bringing his luxury taste to modern-day sensibility. He is a staple on Hallmark’s Home & Family and The Kelly Clarkson Show, and has covered the red carpet for the Oscars, Golden Globes, Primetime Emmys, and the SAG Awards. He has popped up on practically every major talk show, represented the top names in brands, and has presented at sold-out seminars and in-store shopping events. Unlike other fashion experts from our community, he avoids snark and sassy put-downs. He’s a gentleman in all senses of the word and embraces positivity in all he does.

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Most recently, he launched the CAxLZ Summer Collection in partnership with Connected Apparel. Incorporating the feedback Lawrence has received from his years of experience styling women and producing fashion segments for television, each piece from the CAxLZ collection has been carefully crafted and designed with inclusive sizing, affordability, and timeless style at the forefront. This is fashion for women of every shape and size, with a price tag that fits an everyday budget – Hollywood glam made real. Summer is coming, and so are changes in fashion. After a time of reflection and without the pressures of society during COVID, women are more confident in themselves and their bodies.

We chatted with Lawrence about his career, changes in fashion, and his undies:

When did clothing become a point of interest in your life, was it from seeing a movie or celebrity in your youth?

No one’s ever asked me that question before.  Please hold while I think about that… (Enjoy the music while you wait!)  I’m back.  I don’t have an answer really… I just remember always being attracted to what people were wearing and what looked best on them.  NEVER what wasn’t working, but what I liked about the way something looked.  Something else that I also gravitated towards was the difference in how people carried themselves when they were wearing something that you knew they loved.  It’s an inner confidence that someone exudes and I love that fashion is not only something that you wear on the outside but something that can create that feeling within.

What did you wear to prom?  

(Humbly said) Which one?  #thereweremany  🙈😉

There was this midnight blue velvet number with ruffles and patent leather shoes that does stand out, but the good news is that the photos have been successfully hidden in a vault buried beneath my house.

What was your first gig in the styling world?  

My first styling gig was probably helping my Mom get dressed for an event with my Dad.  As a kid, I was her “go-to guy!”  The child that always helped her get ready and I remember loving the process, from start to finish.

How has fashion changed the most from your 20 years in the biz? 

That “most” designers are FINALLY paying attention to EVERY woman of all shapes and GLORIOUS SIZES.  #lovememycurvywomen

How has the fashion industry business side of things changed the most over the last 20 years? 

Simple.  Online shopping.  I love the ease of shopping online but feel as if the “shopping experience” has been completely forgotten.  What we wear is such an integral part of our lives so going out and “choosing” those pieces should be just as important.  I personally love the shopping experience.  Going out and shopping… Trying new things on and seeing/feeling what looks best on me.  The look and most of all the FEEL.  Make an adventure out of it and take a friend.  A friend that loves you and celebrates you.

What are the biggest mistakes people make in putting the perfect outfit together?  

Trying TOO hard to make it all look perfect.  There’s something about looking “put together” in the most effortless way.

What fashion moment for a client sticks out the most from your memory?

It’s not just one.  It’s EVERY single makeover that I’ve ever done.  It’s these amazing, beautiful women that have trusted me to hold their hand as WE walk down this new road together.  When you think about it, it’s quite an honor that these women allow me the precious opportunity to change their look/style and see themselves through my eyes…  A kind man that loves and respects them and wants them to see just how truly beautiful they are.

The assumption is that gay guys are great dressers and love fashion.  What myths about gay men and fashion can you dispel?  

None.  It’s doesn’t matter if you’re gay or not.  There are some men that love fashion just a little bit more than others.  Simple.  Easy.  And, scene.  HA!

How does your sexuality affect your styling ability? 

It doesn’t.  I don’t believe that someone’s sexuality should determine what they bring to the workplace.  You are who you are, and who you are is what makes you unique which is probably why you have that job.

Did you break any rules from your book Ten Commandments for a Perfect Wardrobe during COVID?  

I probably break them EVERY single day.  I mean…

What was your lockdown outfit?  

Whether I’m in lockdown or not, it’s ALWAYS a HIRO CLARK t-shirt AND grey JOHN VARVATOS jeans.  And, well…during COVID and ALL of those Zoom interviews/meetings, etc…Depending on how I felt in the AM, boxers or boxer briefs on the bottom.  And well, there was this one time that I was feeling quite “cheeky” and wore a jockstrap.  True story.  Why not.  My little secret.  Well, not so little, I had gained the dreaded COVID 19, so my “peaches” were quite plump.  I mean.  #yourewelcome

How will COVID affect the immediate future of fashion styles?

Most people will only buy pieces for right now instead of complete outfits.  Plus, they will start utilizing what they already have in their wardrobe.  The reason why I launched my CAxLZ clothing collection with Connected Apparel when we were in lockdown late last year, I wanted every person to have something to throw on to make them feel beautiful.  If you’re going to grab a basic T-shirt, why not grab a sequin one with a little extra shine that made you feel sexy even though you’re at home?  Instead of a pair of sweats, my Sheri Palazzo pants should be your go-to because they are feminine, flowy, and comfortable, and suddenly you’re gliding across the room.

We are seeing men (gay and straight) become more fluid in colors, patterns, and fits of clothing on the red carpet.  Why are men becoming more confident in their expression in terms of feminine vs masculine?

Because it’s time.   This past year has given everyone this precious opportunity to regroup, release, refresh and restart their lives.  We’re living through a pandemic and a time of such social unrest.  Everyone is screaming to be heard.  The time is NOW for everyone to listen and give everyone’s voice a chance to be heard.  And, at the end of the day, who really gives AF who wears what?!!  IF a MAN feels comfortable in a skirt, then wear the f’ing skirt.  NO ONE has the right to tell anyone what is acceptable and what is not.  WEAR WHAT MAKES YOU FEEL GOOD ABOUT YOURSELF.  Period.  And scene.  And for the record, what YOU think of me is none of my business….  NOW, go put on that skirt.

How did you get into your on-screen work?

I believe that God moves us like chess pieces and he moved me into this career.  And for that, I am forever grateful.  AND, if you haven’t noticed, I LOVE what I do!   And, it truly is never a job when you love what you do.  In a nutshell, having just finished modeling around the world I realized there was no one on TV talking about fashion and actually having fun with it.  I also knew that I always had this want to help women feel beautiful.  So, I was modeling on a TV show and was very aware that their ‘fashion expert’ just wasn’t having fun and the styles weren’t relatable.  So I went up to the producer and said I would love to throw out some stylish ideas and to give me a shot with a fashion segment.  She asked me right on the spot what my idea was and without missing a beat, I said I wanted to do a segment about women dressing from the man’s side of the closet.  And the rest, as they say, will go down in fashion history as being in the right place at the right time, with the right stylish insight at my fingertips.

Do you have any funny/horror stories from your early years on TV?  

I do.  Let’s go to tape…  Probably one of my first on-camera makeovers on a national TV show, the one thing I forgot to do was wear a belt and zip up the zipper to my pants.  Enough said.

Your latest clothing collection CAxLZ really celebrates women of all sizes.  We’ve also seen an embrace of curvier women in Hollywood…is this a fad or is body positivity here to stay?

I’ve been celebrating my curvy women for over 20 years.  it’s a shame that that used to be a “thing” in the fashion world.  The blessing is that it has changed and it’s here to SLAY and STAY.  Now, let’s celebrate those curves!!

Photo: James Mankoff

What was your creative process when putting your collection together, what comes first?

I’m blessed to work with an amazing team and family at CONNECTED APPAREL.  Our goal was, and is, to create affordable styles for women to not only look but FEEL BEAUTIFUL.  What truly came first was finding the right partner to bring something that I had been dreaming about for so long to life.  Having been in the dressing room with thousands of women over the years, they told me what they wanted in their fashion.  Pieces to throw on that made you feel instantly glamorous and sexy.  Connected Apparel was on the same page and we worked together to bring my CAxLZ collection to life.  What came first was the fabric, this sequin fabric that was the right amount of sparkle & shine. And then we sat down and paid attention to the cut, shape, and silhouette of each piece.  We were very specific; such as a longer sleeve on the Toni Tee, the Bianca jacket with the longer cut in the back to ensure more confidence with coverage, and the best part?  The pockets.  Who doesn’t love pockets?  I also put pockets in my other two dresses, the Lenny and the Kym.  The Lenny, which features a flattering A-line silhouette, and the Kym with a fit and flare creating the perfect waistline.  CAxLZ for the win!

By looking at your collection, glamour takes center stage.  Looking at the prices, it also seems very manageable on an everyday budget.  How did you work out a balance with both glamour and pricing?  

Easy.  We just listened to what women wanted and did our research on what they would “spend” on a few “elevated” wardrobe-essentials.

I’m a curvy gay, where’s your men’s collection?

Just waiting for my muse…HA.  When the supermodel is ready, the designer appears.  #youreawinnerbaby

With your on-camera work and appearances, you always seem to be the ideal presentation of knowledge, energy, and perfection.  How do you feel the pressure with always having to be “on”?

What you see on TV is truly who I am in person.  I just bump it up a few notches when that red light goes on.  I believe in authenticity, so what you see is what you get, on and off camera.  And, here’s a little LZ fun fact… I’m actually, at my core quite shy and reserved.  My “job” has forced me to be out in the world more and LIVE my life.  Happy.  Joyous.  GAY and FREE!

What has been the worst fashion trend that you’ve fallen victim to?

Long, early 90’s porn hair.  If you don’t know what that is, google it.  AND in advance, you’re welcome.

What have you learned about yourself the most, on a personal level, when looking back at your extensive career?

That one never gives up.  I’m a work in progress and my work will always change and evolve, but my core values have always been the same:  Work hard.  Listen.  Communicate.  ALWAYS give 120 %.  Surround yourself with people that love and celebrate you.  Be kind.  Always be kind.  Say please and thank you.  IF you make a mistake, acknowledge it and come back with 3 other solutions.  Keep trying.  Drink lots of water.  Always bet on yourself.  And, at the end of the day, thank God, the Universe, your Higher Power for another day on this glorious planet we call home.  AND, tell those that you love…  that you LOVE them.

Check out Lawrence’s collection at connectedapparel.com

Follow Lawrence on Instagram @lawrencezarian

Photo: James Mankoff

Last modified: May 12, 2021