Monday 23 September 2019

'I had such a special friendship with Diana, I would love to dress Meghan' - Irish designer Paul Costelloe

Paul Costelloe at his Marylebone, London studio. Picture: Caitlin McBride
Paul Costelloe at his Marylebone, London studio. Picture: Caitlin McBride
Caitlin McBride

Caitlin McBride

Irish designer Paul Costelloe hopes Britain’s Prince Harry and his fiancee Meghan Markle live “happily ever after” after meeting the young prince as a child.

Costelloe was one of Princess Diana’s preferred designers and he was a regular behind the gates of Kensington Palace during her lifetime.

Harry and his brother Prince William will always hold a special place in Costelloe’s heart because of his long-standing affection for their late mother, who not only launched his career, but became a close friend.

“That was the beginning, that was one of the biggest things for my career was dressing Princess Diana. Meeting William as a young boy, he was no more than four or five, I met both - they wouldn’t remember a boring old man,” he laughed.

He said his team are “working on trying” to dress Meghan, but acknowledged the “generation gap” between the late princess and the younger generation of royals.

After Diana endorsed his work in the early ‘90s, Costelloe went on to work with Zara Tindall and Princess Anne, both of whom are still clients.

But he believes that Meghan’s American attitude to fashion is the breath of fresh air that the Britsih royal family needs.

“I think she’s definitely a clothes horse, she wears colours very well. She’s going to be very important for fashion for quite a long time,” he told Style from his studio in London’s plush Marylebone neighbourhood.

“She’s more directional and perhaps more adventurous than Kate, even though I think Kate’s got a nice, feminine, all British girl look.

“This American influence - if she’s allowed to, a little freer - in fact, she’ll probably be freer anyway with her attitude having worked in media and television.”

Markle is rumoured to be wearing a €100,000 dress custom made by Ralph & Russo, the London-based couture house, for her wedding to Harry on Saturday.

“I’m anticipating elegance with a little bit of froth. It’s the major wedding of the year,” he says of his expectations for the dress.

“I think she can wear risky and wear it well. I think she’s going to relax him, calm him down a little bit. I think he’s the one who will be more nervous and I hope they live happily ever after.”

He has just launched a new bridal collection to his popular jewellery range, and it's obvious the hero product is a Diana-inspired sapphire and diamond bracelet (€330).

Although his work with the British royals is just a fraction of his workload, in addition to his eponymous collection and the jewellery range, he also has a diffusion line with Dunnes Stores.

And it’s the next generation getting ready to take over the helm when retirement comes - which isn’t anytime in the near future.

“The Costelloe brand is lucky because it’s a family company,” he said.

“The creative person of the future is my son William who is studying fashion in Milan, my eldest son Robert is in business and will probably come on at management level at some point and my daughter Jessica looks after our social media. It’s going to be around for awhile."I’m sort of like Clark Gable in Gone With The Wind, very ‘Frankly my dear I don’t give a damn’. I don’t. I’m just enjoying it, I’m creating and not being too cautious.”

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