Paul Costelloe debuts "leggy" collection at London Fashion Week
"It's a very leggy collection, it's all to do with legs," announced Paul Costelloe as he unveiled his SS16 collection on the first day of London Fashion Week.
A traditional Paul Costelloe customer from five, ten or 30 years ago might have got a surprise at the change in vibe and some of those low V-necklines, high hemlines, flirty puffballs and peplum tops worn over shorts.
However, there were plenty of coats and dresses with Paul's signature tailoring studded throughout the 30 piece collection which opened with a neoprene coat and dresses in bright orange followed by bold purples, lilacs and kelly green.
But it was the luxury, engraved Italian jacquards in duck egg blue with shimmering silver threads and a pretty, dusty pink rose-patterned metallics that stole the show and the latter sent the 'Made In Chelsea' stars like Jess Woodley and Toff (aka Georgia Toffolo) freshly returned from California, reaching for their smart phones to take pictures.
The young woman with the tumbling blonde hair in the black coat was Lady Kitty Spencer, niece of the late Princess Diana. Paul shot to international fame in the 1980's dressing Diana and he described Lady Kitty's presence as "an interesting continuation of a relationship."
Kitty, who is a daughter of Viscount Charles Spencer, was accompanied by Lady Alice Manners and her sister, Lady Eliza, daughters of the Duke of Rutland and all three congratulated the designer after the show and expressed a keen interest in the new clothes.
"It is a couture collection pretty much, it is aspirational and we will probably bring it into our Studio collection for Dunnes Stores because it can be moved into ready to wear," said Paul who held two, back-to-back shows at Cafe Royale, chosen as the location because it is a stone's throw from Brewer Street car park where LFW is now, controversially, anchored.
"I was led by these fabrics and I really enjoyed doing this collection, it's part of my moving forward and experimenting," said Paul who entitled his show 'New Reflections.'
Paul describes the pieces including one belted orange coat costing £1,200-£1,400 as "just Paul Costelloe being extravagant."
Having worked with Andrés Courreges in Paris, the designer plays to modernism with all its geometric lines and seams.
"It's there with me all the time, it's just part of my DNA," said Paul who chose Neil Sedaka music for the show.
The variety of necklines, hemlines, fabrics and colours certainly kept the teatime audience vigilant to the changing looks on the Costelloe runway.
Necklines oscillated between deep, low, plunging Vs, high funnels and soft drapes. The nappy-like, mini puffball play suit was my least favourite leggy look but the more generous puffballs were pretty and the shorts worn under a voluminous, sleeved, peplum tops were gorgeous.
Revisiting 1960s, streamlined, geometric shapes, Paul had great success with a series of belted coats, some with funnel necks, strong statement pockets that moved around the body and wide cuffs that sat like cuff bracelets on the outside of the sleeves.
The exterior seaming on the coats, the chic, inserted panels of mini pleats and the addition of an extra flap on the back, almost like a tail that moved as the models walked, revealing a contrasting lining - all added up to a sophisticated silhouette.
The only thing I would change was the introduction of low waisted, oval ' window' panels which introduced a very different, feminine vibe.
Styling was very good with white wedge Moda In Pelle ankle boots and a very fortunate discovery by Paul in Angel Market of genuine1960s sunglasses that apparently got mislaid at an airport and have been happily been liberated for the fashion world, 50 years later!