Costelloe has real designs on dressing new PM Theresa
"One of the advantages of being a tall man is that you can slip your arm around a lady's shoulder and start a conversation with her."
That's exactly what Irish designer Paul Costelloe did with British PM Theresa May when he attended a party at 10 Downing Street on the eve of this London Fashion Week (LFW), which kicked off on Friday.
"You have to jump on these fashion opportunities," explained Paul as he revealed how he sent three drawings of suggested tailoring looks to May the day she was elected PM.
"I just walked up and introduced myself as she was talking to Nicholas Coleridge of Vogue. She said she hadn't seen my drawings yet and I said I would love to dress her and reminded her how I had dressed Cherie Blair."
Chatting at Brewer Street car park, the HQ for LFW, the straight-talking designer was in ebullient form after his SS17 collection, dedicated to the rejuvenation of Irish linen, was showcased.
Paul had two teatime catwalk shows on day one of LFW, with the second one attended by over 400 people.
Building on that interest in his brand, Paul was at the Soho car park yesterday afternoon to wholesale the collection. This is a new business approach by the Irishman, who sees a place for his fashion brand on the world stage - and he is going after it with gusto.
His SS17 collection featured lots of catwalk eye candy moments, such as a model wearing an off-the-shoulder, frosted PVC top with wide-legged linen trousers with side pockets.
The sheer top has the effect of opaque glass and Paul's use of gathered PVC in puffed sleeves on a navy silk jacquard dress also triggered intrigue with the foreign buyers. "This is a long-awaited rejuvenation of the days when linen reigned supreme," said Dubliner Paul, who worked with John English in Belfast and Emblem Weavers in Wexford on the linens, which he fashioned into longline coats and asymmetric jackets worn with romper shorts.
"I'm a father of seven, I've seen plenty of romper suits," laughed Paul. This eco-minded range, using an organic, natural flax from Flanders that is then woven in Ireland, is sparking interest with visiting buyers.
Watching the Irishman chat with these buyers from the US, Asia and the Middle East, there is no doubt about the twin attractions of modern tailoring and heritage fabrics.