Without a doubt sexy, feminine clothes makes up Michael Costello’s oeuvre; there is no argument about that. The bigger question is if Michael Costello can turn his obsession with sexy into a viable collection that has retail value and appeals to a wider female demographic. Costello almost achieved this with his debut spring 2015 collection at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week and he got even closer with his spring 2016 outing during New York Fashion Week: The Shows.
Sometimes, with Costello there is inconsistency. Some seasons Costello’s brand of sexy is projected toward consumers that want to show all their physical gifts, giving a strong nod to decadent profundity. Other seasons there is more restraint with a healthy mix of sensuality, charm, and innovation.
Still, every season Costello gets close to the goal of achieving that special balance of sensual charm and boldness paired with innovative sensibility. Costello’s fall 2017 collection manifests that combination better than any outing thus far.
Everything is almost there in Costello’s fall 2017 collection. There is more sophistication, possible wider consumer appeal, some vintage mixed with now and next, and of course Costello’s brand of sexy is front and center.
Inspired by that powerful woman whose cool style sets her apart from other women, Costello’s ‘Histoire D’Amour’ collection presents this powerful woman at the height of sensual allure and influence. This woman’s charisma is so compelling that all who encounter her charm want to be associated with her and document the many loves of her life.
“The story of this collection was a vixen’s love story,” explains Charlotte Welch, stylist for Michael Costello’s fall 2017 collection. “This is the cool girl who falls in love, and the styling had to support that idea. We have to keep the girl cool and edgy so I went sunglasses, belts, some cool jewelry, and hat accessories to forward Michael’s story of that cool girl.”
True to form, Costello’s fall 2017 collection is a cornucopia of plunging décolletage, diaphanous sheers, high slits and form-fitting silhouettes. What set this collection apart from other Costello collections that employ similar elements are some sensual restraint and overall more compelling silhouettes. Costello’s va va voom is still a primary focus of this fall 2017 outing; however, Costello has pared down his penchant for overt sexiness to appeal to a wider demographic.
Costello also references certain eras of American sexiness in this collection. From 50s mermaid silhouettes to 70s disco glam to 80s power woman structured silhouettes, Costello finds a way to stir all this seemingly disparate feminine silhouettes into one pot and render a relatively cohesive collection.
At first glance, Costello’s predilection for a white color palette with floral and lace embellishments conjures up images of bridal collections. However, with the specific styling of the collection, Costello elevates his penchant for white beyond bridal. “I knew going into this show that Michael was going to use a lot of white, which can mean bridal, so that was my styling challenge. So I had to use styling, makeup and hair to take the collection out of a bridal aesthetic. Of course, brides can wear many of the garments, but that is not the reference point of this collection,” detailed Welch. “We have brought in a lot of trends to elevate the collection of a bridal aesthetic. We have the rose gold trend, belting at the waist—brought back from the nineties—, and chunky jewelry.”
With this fall 2017 collection, Costello boldly responds to the question of market viability and an expanding demographic with a resounding yes. May the magic continue!!
—William S. Gooch