Costelloe happy with mix of couture and commercial
Friday night, it was champagne in the Waldorf after his glamorous catwalk show on the opening day of London Fashion Week, but yesterday was back to work for designer Paul Costelloe, sketching for his Dunnes Stores Living womenswear collection for next winter.
The two packed runway shows in the marble Palm Court at the Waldorf in Aldwych were "an investment in the Costelloe brand, everything else is a plus", said the designer, acknowledging that now, with showtime over, "you have to think of the bread and butter".
At 71, the veteran designer knows when to step away from Fashion Week hoopla for the realities of retail.
While he won't discuss figures for his many creative concerns, Paul happily announced yesterday "well, business is not shrinking".
Friday night's AW17 shows were packed with celebs, including Ronan Keating and his wife, Storm. Shows like these fuel Paul's determination to stay in the rag trade and to go it alone with twice-yearly couture collections.
"I'm enjoying being true to myself. It's an amazing stage of your life. I'm not the youngest boy on the block by any means but sometimes, the autumn can be a very fruitful time," says Paul with a broad beam.
"I sort of feel that with all my experience, I've got a lot to give, I've a lot of experience from being around so bloody long.
"I'm enjoying it and I think living in London is a plus because it helps me to be very clear and focused."
Asked why it might be different if he moved back to Ireland, Paul says: "I would be afraid that I would get swallowed up, I'd become too self-conscious, and too cautious, I suppose."
He has anonymity in London "so it has its advantages and it keeps you competitive. It keeps me aware that I'm still ready to challenge anybody - Giorgio Armani, Donatello Versace - if one was working on the same budget."
Paul's AW17 collection has strong Tudor resonances, especially in the sleeves, and runway stars included a gossamer-light silver sheath maxi with fluted bell sleeves.
And there was a big overcoat in Magee tweed with wonderful swing, and a sexy, double-layered crepe shirt with pleating detail on the sleeves.
There was wearability in his textured cream jacquards and the inevitable 'show night' conversation piece - a one-legged silver jumpsuit that is undoubtedly bound for red-carpet action.