‘A self-indulgent Paul Costelloe expression of who I am’

Irish designer’s London Fashion Week show included Italian florals and plain Irish linens

Paul Costelloe: “I am lucky to be still showing at London Fashion Week whether good, bad or indifferent,” the Irish designer says. Photographs: Joe Maher/BFC/Getty

Paul Costelloe: “I am lucky to be still showing at London Fashion Week whether good, bad or indifferent,” the Irish designer says. Photographs: Joe Maher/BFC/Getty

 

“This is like an artist painting just to please himself. It is a total self-indulgent Costelloe expression of what I feel and who I am, because most of my life I have been looking at the commercial side.”

So said Paul Costelloe at the presentation of his spring-summer collection, on the Strand on Monday morning, at London Fashion Week. “I am doing what I like, the clothes I enjoy looking at, in beautiful fabrics and good design and trying to keep the collection young.”

With its lavish, expensive fabrics – blowsy Italian florals, plain Irish linens and windowpane checks in shapes reminiscent of the late 1950s and 1960s, with less emphasis on tailoring – it was typical of an approach from his last few seasons in London geared to weddings and red-carpet events.

“I am lucky to be still showing at London Fashion Week whether good, bad or indifferent. People believe it, and it keeps the brand visible and the name at the very top.”

The 52 outfits on the catwalk – “all either very short or very long”, he says – are only made to order. Prices are high, ranging from €800 to €2,000, with everything made in London by skilled artisans and tailors. Costelloe doesn’t show his Dunnes Stores ready to wear, but he reckons that Irish customers will be aware through social media of what’s shown in London – “and in Dunnes we are giving quality in coats and knitwear as good as MaxMara”.

The London spring collection’s party-girl vibe took shape in flouncy skater and bubblegum dresses, off-the-shoulder “mermaid” numbers, tiered fly-away tents and red-carpet affairs in black lace with plunging necklines. Vogue Williams and “a lot of Love Island” are fans, according to Costelloe. Tailored jackets in rich tweed or intricate jacquards featured 1980s-style power shoulders, a far cry from the more utilitarian daywear at Dunnes.

Next month he shows the London collection in Paris and is also having a solo exhibition of his fashion drawings in Japan.

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