Irish Examiner Saturday
Costelloe’s new collection giddy with joy
Five minutes. You can do a lot in five minutes as Paul Costelloe’s autumn/winter 21 showcase attests.
Marking the inaugural day of London Fashion Week in its now digital-first, gender-neutral format, the Dublin native unleashed his signature runway elan to a fully virtual audience — comfortably seated at home on their sofas.
Covid-19 restrictions and stormy weather conditions notwithstanding, the buoyant mood marked a clear statement of intent.
“It’s a season to be bold and brave,” stated Costelloe, whose 35 years showing at the fashion capital testifies to this tenacity.
The collection — a reflection on his early days as a young designer in Paris in the late 1960s and early 1970s — was giddy with joy, yet equally sophisticated in restraint.
Models wearing slick side-parted chignons, winged eyeliner and matte red lips served up Audrey Hepburn realness in an opening vignette of yellow swing coats clashed with full-body suits and stretch leggings in a red floral print designed inhouse by William Costelloe. Gamine and game on — all in the same breath.
And that’s just the start of it.
As always, classic Costelloe tailoring was the star of the show, as evidenced by sharp suiting and sculpted outerwear, but its iteration was 100% turbo-charged sass.
A tunic dress with exaggerated leg-of-mutton shoulders; pleated tartan skirting on an Austrian tweed jacket; frock coats cinched with patent leather belts; that outré French silk organza pussy-bow blouse all vied for attention; some styled with leather gloves and stacked bracelets; others with Pan Am-style hatboxes — a delicious reminder that one day we will travel again, and we shall do so in style.
As for showstoppers? A tie-dye soigné mini dress boasting a prodigious jewel collar proved the stuff of Instagram likes and wardrobe loves, not to mention its whimsical off-the-shoulder cousin.
That’s not to say the finale of midnight blue gúnas fell short. Hardly.
Quiet confidence has its own chutzpah, especially where tartan pie-crust collars and amplified pagoda sleeves are concerned.
Plus, the ‘Freyja’ collection earrings by Irish designer Bláithín Ennis made the finishing touches even more apropos.
Whimsical, wonderful, and oh-so-wanted; your post-lockdown wardrobe starts here.
London Fashion Week presented by Clearpay is on now.
Irish designers Sharon Wauchob and Simone
Rocha show tomorrow and Tuesday.