Bairbre Power: Paul Costelloe reveals collection ahead of London Fashion week show
Zulu theme sees Paul Costelloe lead charge on Brexit blues
"In times like these, belief is more relevant than ever before…'' That was the positive sentiment from designer Paul Costelloe who, on the eve of his London Fashion Week AW19 show, is kicking Brexit negativity off the stage.
His fighting resilience distilled over five decades in the ragtrade means Paul goes to London's Strand tomorrow armed with an inclusive collection that runs the full gamut, "from battlefield to ballroom".
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It's a striking mix of strong military coats such as this short grey belted coat in Italian wool with gold braiding on sleeves and collar that gives it a modern, feminine touch.
The father-of-seven intends to close his show with a full skirted black and gold gown in a dramatic Italian jacquard which conveys his concept of "romantic, relaxed elegance".
The round-necked gown features that Irish favourite... pockets. "You know me, pockets, pockets, pockets in everything," said Paul.
Chilling before his two back-to-back morning catwalk shows, which are usually studded with a celebrity frow, Paul revealed how the collection infused with sexy elements like a shiny reptilian print two piece with block pleats was partly inspired by Zulu - the epic 1960s war film, depicting the Battle of Rorke's Drift between the British Army and the Zulus in 1879.
"I was somewhat inspired by the movie Zulu where Michael Caine looked so amazing in his red army jacket and his blond hair. There's a little bit of that in this collection which is a mix of chic military and romance.
"I went down the tailoring route because that's my DNA," said Paul, who shot to international fame in the 1980s when he dressed Princess Diana in tailored pieces.
The designer works with Irish fabrics like linen from Emblem Weavers in Wexford which featured in his current SS19 collection in Kelly Green and the tweeds for AW19 come from Magee.
The collection includes opulent, mill-engineered velvet corduroy with a lavish handle in autumnal shades of gold and claret.
Add to that an array of flower-strewn day-to- evening pieces including pencil skirts with over-sized Aran knitwear, day dresses in subtle woven patterns and aristocratic inspired long, billowing gowns, fit for a princess.
When pressed about his views on Brexit, Paul said "divorce is never easy, both sides have to be accommodating".
He pointed out Britain's singular ways of holding onto their own currency and never switching over from miles to kilometres like the rest of Europe, but said he was confident the British government would reach an agreement with the European Union.
"I think they will," he said. "I feel quite confident that they are not that stupid."