As we look to a new season after London Fashion Week, it’s a great time to take a closer view of one of our most celebrated designers, says Angela Cliffe
Paul Costelloe is one of our most renowned contemporary designers and we feel fortunate to have him on the London show schedule. He is one of the golden circle of truly great names of British Fashion with a stellar career spanning across four decades. Following an early interest in art during his formative years he began to study fashion design in the late 1960’s at the prestigious Chamber Syndicate in Paris. But Paul credits his fashion education to living in Paris itself during the apogee of the careers of Emanuel Ungaro and Pierre Cardin and absorbing the milieu of the fashion world in and around the Rue Faubourg Saint Honoré.
‘Princess Diana notably chose Paul as her personal designer in 1982
and he was one of the few designers that she chose to dress her throughout her years in the public eye..’
After building a successful career in Europe and the USA he established his own label in 1979 and in 1994 opened a flagship store in London’s Knightsbridge. From the earliest days of the foundation of his own label he quickly built a large following of devoted private clients. The late Diana Princess of Wales notably chose Paul as her personal designer in 1982 and he was one of the few designers that she chose to dress her throughout her years in the public eye as the world’s foremost style icon.
‘A testament to his versatility are his corporate clients, including Aer Lingus, British Airways and Delta Airlines to name a few’
Paul Costelloe today designs womenswear, menswear, accessories and corporate clothing that is sold throughout the world. A testament to his versatility are his high profile corporate clients; Aer Lingus, British Airways and Delta Airlines to name a few. The corporate lines also keep true to Paul’s belief that fashion should be practical for men and women and adapt seamlessly into their everyday lives.
‘He was the event designer to equestrian champion Zara Phillips, adding to an illustrious list of sporting commissions competing at the highest level’
To date Paul has had a number high profile commissions in the sporting arena. From 2012 to 2015 he was the event designer to equestrian champion Zara Phillips, granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth II. He has also dressed equestrian world champion and Olympic gold medalist Charlotte Dujardin in 2013. In the mid 2000’s he was chosen to dress the wives of the European Ryder Cup team in the United States adding to an illustrious list of sporting commissions for national teams competing at the highest level.
‘In a romantic ode evoking the ‘Swinging Sixties’,
Paul Costelloe produced a collection that took some of the best elements of style from this time,
rather like a fond memory, but gave it a kick-start and new lease of life with his own magic touch’
Paul’s menswear is as equally well respected as his womenswear and he presents twice a year at the British Fashion Council’s London Men’s Collections. To see his presentation on the catwalk and his collections in the showroom at LMC is a great treat and it’s quite apparent that you are in the presence of a Master tailor.
In it’s new home at Brewer Street Carpark in Soho, London Fashion Week returned to one of the hubs of the ‘Swinging Sixties’. In a romantic ode evoking this era, Paul Costelloe produced a collection that took some of the best elements of style from this time, rather like a fond memory, but gave it a kick-start and new lease of life with his own magic touch.
‘.. in a room of mirrors and chandeliers echoing the famous gilded rooms of Versailles, Paul brought out a stunning collection that left his audience spellbound’
For Spring and Summer 2016 we were welcomed into Pauls’ world at the Café Royal Hotel where, in a room of mirrors and chandeliers echoing the famous gilded rooms of Versailles, Paul brought out a stunning collection that left his audience spellbound. Look after look mesmerised us as playful sweetheart Rock and Roll Summer chic blended seamlessly with the softened hauteur of courtly elegance of 18th century France. Swinging rock ballads and feet in the audience itching to dance.
‘The dresses featured fine iridescent fabrics that shimmered in the soft light and evoked wonderful ideas of summer evening parties’
The collection opened with a bold colour statement in Orange moving through to a softer palette of baby pink and lilac. The mini skirt was back in full force and 60’s swinging London was re-invented for a new era before our eyes. As one would expect from such a seasoned professional, the collection never became too saccharine with many two piece outfits, dresses and coats that you can happily blend into a working and leisure wardrobe through the spring and summer seasons. Beach, picnic, office, dinner, drinks or a black-tie event; he has it all covered with plenty of choice whilst always keeping true to a unified theme. The later dresses in the evening wear part of the collection featured fine iridescent fabrics that shimmered in the soft light and evoked wonderful ideas of summer evening parties.
‘Seated on the front row, the attentive audience included Lady Kitty Spencer along with Alice and Eliza Manners..’
Whichever point of view you were looking at this collection from — client, buyer, photographer or writer — there was plenty to adore amongst the looks on show. Seated on the front row, the attentive audience included Lady Kitty Spencer along with Alice and Eliza Manners. They neatly demonstrate how Paul’s collections attract the attention of women across generations and how he is still just as in demand by the new generation as well as his loyal client base.
With a spring in his step Paul appears to have plenty of ideas for the future and 2016 at Paul Costelloe looks rosy.