Paul Costelloe brought his studio to London Fashion Week for an intimate spring/summer 2021 presentation, featuring staff from his atelier, his family, as well as his playful designs, to the impressive setting of the Palm Court in the Waldorf Hilton.
While a global pandemic may have stopped Costelloe putting on his usual catwalk showcase, coronavirus wasn’t going to slow down the American-Irish designer, who instead charmed editors and buyers throughout the day with socially-distanced timed allocations to present his uplifting ‘Golden Reflections’ collection.
“I feel it’s important for buyers and press to see the collection in person,” explained Costelloe to FashionUnited. “It’s an entirely different experience from judging a collection on screen.”
As well as having models fluttering around in his elegant, modern dresses in soft delicate daffodil prints and taupe stripes, the designer was also front and centre, talking through the collection, showing the Italian fabrics used, as well as doing each guest a personalised sketch and message.
The presentation, described by Costelloe as “cheap but effective” was a recreation of his London studio. The designer, who was once the personal designer to Diana, the Princess of Wales, has an open table policy, where he sits alongside his atelier staff to create his collections.
While usually a Paul Costelloe fashion week event is a showy affair, with a front-row lined with celebrities, and guests crammed in, it was nice to see a pared-back approach from the designer, having time to speak to him about the collection, as well as see how he interacts with his daughter Jessica and son, William, and his atelier staff.
Paul Costelloe brings optimism and new beginnings to London Fashion Week for SS21
Costelloe added: “It has been a good opportunity to be noticed, for a change. A small fish in a small pond, on this occasion!
“I also wanted to support the Waldorf Hotel, over the years we’ve shown here and they’ve been very good to us, now they are struggling, and we wanted to show our support.”
The spring/summer 2021 collection had a sense of joy and optimism about it, with warm and neutral colours from soft creams to burnt umbers and Mediterranean blues, alongside delicate yellow and indigo fern prints and stripes.
“This is the perfect collection to fly a kite and dream,” added Costelloe.
There is a playful feel to the collection, which is just calling out for a summer adventure, with Costelloe experimenting with shapes and structure, with oversized smock dresses made in floral fabrics with large pockets alongside tailored jackets presented in soft Irish and Italian printed linens, paired with slouch trousers and hooded layers.
This is a collection catering for the new comfortable norms of fashion, while injecting a touch of the brand’s signature style for contemporary, modern and flirty designs.
Other highlights included soft, silk dresses layered with short-cropped jackets and metallic backpacks, a long asymmetrical linen dress paired with a taupe striped blazer, and a yellow daffodil print seen across a range of dresses and separates with the standout look being a maxi dress with bold puff sleeves.
The intimate presentation also allowed the brand to highlight its many other categories as well as ready-to-wear, including its extensive collection of bags, and its lifestyle arm, with Paul Costelloe candles burning brightly to add a luxurious scent to the space.
While this salon show was a wonderful look inside the inner workings of the label, Costelloe stated that there is something special about showing on the catwalk, adding: “There is nowhere to hide on the catwalk. You are open and vulnerable to the public so everything has to be perfect. The eye and touch don’t lie!
Images: by Danielle Wightman-Stone