Paul Costelloe to design range of tableware
By his own admission, Paul Costelloe "knows absolutely nothing about pottery or earthenware".
But, as recently announced, the fashion designer will be adding his creative input to the existing design skills at Waterford Wedgwood to develop four exclusive ranges of tableware.
The new ranges, aimed specifically at the younger market, are to be sold worldwide under the Paul Costelloe and Wedgwood trademarks and will be introduced in Ireland, Britain and the US late next year.
"The idea is to add a certain excitement for the younger people who would look at tableware and say `Oh, my God, my mother has that and my grandmother, but it's not for me'."
The move follows last year's launch of the John Rocha Collection by Waterford Crystal, which the company says has exceeded initial expectations by over 100 per cent.
Costelloe, who has already worked on design projects for Cavan Crystal and Newbridge Cutlery, says they involve no big leap for clothes designers like himself. "I think people in the fashion industry can bring their vision to so many other areas, and earthenware is just one of them."
Wedgwood's chief executive officer, Mr Brian Patterson, said the agreement with Costelloe, "one of the world's most popular and dynamic designers", was in keeping with the group's diversification into home enhancement.
"I am confident these collections will bring us to the attention of younger consumers around the world," he said.
If it all goes wrong, Costelloe says with tongue firmly in cheek, then he can always go back to the bacon industry. He once worked in a bacon factory in Cappoquin, Co Waterford.
In using designers like Costelloe and Rocha, Waterford Wedgwood is following a policy successfully established in the group in recent years.
Rosenthal, the group's German porcelain-manufacturing subsidiary, is licensed to make ranges of Versace tableware and crystal, and is well known for designer-led collections which include Fornasetti, Tricia Guild and Jasper Morrison.
The Costelloe deal is evidence, if it were needed, that there is no such thing as bad publicity. The designer caused something of an uproar in October when he said style was not a natural characteristic of Irish women.
But the controversy has cost him no sleep whatsoever. "The male population has been very supportive," he says.