Ready For SUMMER! FASHION, BEAUTY, FITNESS
PROJECT RUNWAY’S Michael Costello
“A wards season is the most difficult season for any designer. You get so many opportunities, but you’re never sure if they are going to wear your dress or if you’re just an option until they show up on the red carpet,” says Los Angelesbased fashion designer Michael Costello. Requiring no introduction to fans of Project Runway, the Season 8 contestant, who returned for Project Runway: All Stars, never disappoints when it comes to dressing A-list celebrities in his ultra-glamorous gowns for virtually every major awards show. From the red carpet to the small screen to the stage, his credits also include creating costumes for the television show American Horror Story: Hotel— such as the dramatic, floor-length, billowy-sleeved fuchsia gown worn by Lady Gaga’s Countess character—as well as Jennifer Lopez’s new Las Vegas gig All I Have. On the runway, Costello has shown at both New York City’s Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week and Los Angeles (L.A.) Fashion Week. Costello also recently revealed on Instagram that his first flagship boutique will open in Hollywood late summer. It seems the (Hollywood) Hills are alive with the sound (er, designs) of Costello.
When I chat with Costello over the phone, the 33-year-old self-described “T-shirt and jeans guy” is speaking from his downtown L.A. studio. “Sometimes I’ll stay here for 18 hours, go home, sleep for two hours and come back,” says Costello of his awards season schedule. “There’s tulle and beads flying everywhere, mannequin parts here and there, and crystals all over. Awards season is crazy for us, but we love it—that’s what we live for.”
Costello’s creations have been spotted on Jennifer Lopez, Eva Longoria, Nicki Minaj, Katy Perry, Ariana Grande, Khloé Kardashian, Kylie Jenner, Whitney Port and Beyoncé (flashback to Queen Bey’s major fashion moment in Costello’s sheer-and-floral lace white gown at the 2014 Grammys), to name a few. Gwen Stefani donned the Mrs. Robinson mini dress in a scarlet red taffeta for Clive Davis’ pre-Grammy gala this past February (Costello credits boyfriend Jesse Castell for suggesting the garment to Stefani’s stylists), while Meghan Trainor sparkled onstage in a black custom-made gown to accept her Grammy award for Best New Artist. Perhaps it’s not so surprising, then, to learn that at 17 years old Costello interned with legendary designer Bob Mackie— known for dressing the who’s who of entertainers—and is now following in his fashionable footsteps.
Asked what he considers when designing for the red carpet, Costello doesn’t hesitate: “Sex,” he says, laughing. “As funny as it may seem, I feel like I live in a bit of a fantasyland and I always imagine, what happens after the red carpet event? Is she going to dinner? Is she going home to her boyfriend? How easily does this dress need to come off?” Bottom line, Costello makes sure the red (hot) carpet is laden with the right amount of sex appeal and elegance. “Even though I love to do trapeze, caftan gowns with tons of Grecian goddess fabric, I always give the woman a waist because it’s one of the most powerful focal points on