We first met Michael Costello as a finalist on Project Runway; but his success certainly did not stop there. Project Runway, which he describes as a “stressful but unreal experience”, was only the beginning of the 33-year-old Los Angeles based designers climb to fame over the past few years. The experience gained from the show taught him how, “...as a designer you really have to push yourself, and it’s hard to wake up everyday and be ready to create. But being around all of the energy of the judges, and other designers helped make the entire experience worth every moment.” Now an established designer, Michael Costello talks to Designow about his philosophy as a designer, his collaborations and his plans for the future.
Costello is notorious for his dresses that exude sex appeal while always remaining classic and fashion-forward. His brand is self-described as “unique, sexy, and when women put on [his] designs they feel confident and luminous.” And we certainly cannot argue against this! According to Costello, his gravitation towards evening gowns can be attributed to his love for fabrics: “I am drawn to sparkle, and drape which tend to be more favorable toward evening gowns.” His process is based on a continuous collaboration and relationship with the fabric he chooses to work with, always searching for “that balance between sexy and over the top.”
With that said, perhaps what people love most about Costello’s designs are his appreciation and consideration for the woman he is making it for. This mentality of his is present from the very beginning of the design process. “I think of each dress as the representation of the woman who will wear it,” Costello tells Designow, “so as I go I try and just help bring her to life.” He is inspired by every type of woman, refusing to stick to the representation of just one demographic. His mantra? “Every woman is my ideal woman.” We love it – and we are not the only ones! No high-profile event is complete without at least one or more of Michael Costello’s dresses. His dedication to working with women of all different sizes and body types is what makes him the perfect celebrity designer.
Today, Costello’s gowns can be spotted everywhere. From styling Kim Kardashian and Caitlyn Jenner (ESPYs, I Am Cait) on Keeping Up With The Kardashians!, to the Billboard Music Awards (11 looks for the event, not including the outfit Costello wore for the big night), to Ciara’s bridesmaid dresses, to J.Lo, to a collaboration with Nicki Minaj for her new app launched with Glu Mobile, and so much more in between. Adding to the list, Michael Costello lists dressing Beyonce for the Grammy’s as one of the best moments of his career. For him, the challenge is not adapting to different body types, but rather the fact that “a lot of things happen at the last minute, so at times [he] has to be on-call, like a doctor.”
Now, Michael Costello is embarking on a whole other project: a collaboration with Designow, featuring “fabulous Michael Costello pieces that are inspired by some of my favorite designs from the runway.” As someone with such a presence on social media in a world that is heavily reliant on ecommerce, Costello understands the importance of self-promotion, interaction, and the internet for emerging designers. “We live in a world now that asks us our preference on almost everything so why don’t we get the input from our clients on how they want to see our designs,” Costello explains; on that note, stay tuned for the next upcoming challenge on designow.com, where we want your vote and opinion on designs! “The internet has opened up a lot of new possibilities for retail and fashion,” continues Costello, “and I really respect the way that Designow has thought about their model.” The only hint we will get about the styles he is designing is that they’re fabulous! Regarding his upcoming FW17 runway show for Fashion week, Costello says: “The next collection is a secret, until February at least. But I will just say that the aesthetic will not be the same and the inspiration is coming from a completely different place.” We can only assume that Costello may be hinting at moving away from his current gowns, and towards what he describes as “pieces that every woman can find in her wardrobe” – only time will tell what this really means!
Through it all, Costello attributes his success to God, [his] family and [his] team.
“It takes a village to do anything right,” he explains, “and that idea is not lost on me.” To all young designers, he advises to always “Give your design life, let the fabric speak to you, follow what comes organically through you and trust your vision.” Ultimately, fashion is alive, constantly morphing, and needs to be lived. It is because of this that Costello has decided to partner up with Designow for his upcoming collaboration, making his designs more readily accessible for the masses. Now, everyone can have a Costello piece in their wardrobe.
All images courtesy of Michael Costello Studio