“I love Paul Costelloe, I always look at his stuff in Duns”
Cut through to an audience isn’t a conversation that’s often had in fashion, but one that should be, and Paul Costelloe is a designer that has always been able to reach out from the pages of fashion magazines and connect with the fashion buying public, nothing was clearer than when a friend who doesn’t work in fashion said the above to me when she heard my first show of the season was the iconic Irish designer.
A few days later I was having tea with a new acquaintance from South America and she told me how Paul Costelloe was a show she’d dreamed of being at when she started her career in Brazil. In an industry where we as journalists, or as consumers can become besotted with “the next big thing” perhaps we should realise what a treasure we have in this humble yet delightful designer from Ireland who has been a stalwart of our industry for decades.
This season we saw a masterpiece of a collection from him, a collection that delved into not just his personal history as a designer, but of the textile history of Ireland, the garments were as beautiful as they were historic. Techniques and materials from a spectrum of centuries were brought together, the old ways mingling with the modern looks. I often think fashion is about balance, and balancing the past with feeling the look is of the moment is a tightrope many try, but few achieve.
But make no mistake, this colourful as ever construction of fabrics was everything you’d want a wardrobe to be, hints of looseness played against structure. the softer fabrics set of against the sharper lines of the other clothes. In each look there was also that magic ingredient, one that designers posses but cannot buy, the ability to stitch joy into a look, Paul Costelloe has always been a tailor with an innate skill with that particularly tricky thread.
As we sat in a brightly lit Palm Court you could feel that fashion week was back, and the season was starting with one of its most enduring and iconic talents back where he belonged with a big smile and his audience.