Runway Review: Costello Tagliapietra FW14/15

What I love about this duo is that at first glance they could be a pair of Brooklyn artists. It would only make sense, then, that their recent preoccupations have been elements of science fiction and fantasy in imaginary tales of power and strength: think European fairy tales, vintage militaria, alpaca becoming alien fur and replicating reptile textures. But make no mistake—this duo have a refined, minimal and expensive woman in their minds every season. Today’s highly-focused and well edited collection might have had that crazy mishmash DNA, but it was slick and exacting.

Taffeta is a hard nut to crack. Anyone past their mid-thirties winces at the memory of unfortunate teenage dresses their mother coaxed them into, in a weird stiff fabric that couldn’t make up its mind if it was one color or another, and was so shiny that no matter how dim the lights at the party were, you stuck out like a sore thumb. Think again: These guys took taffeta and stripped it back into razor sharp tuxedos and precisely-tailored separates.

The other component of the collection was 1940s-inspired dresses and separates with a discreet intelligence to them—especially in the strategically-placed draping and ruching. The hit was a heather-toned, draped knee-length dress that would work anywhere, anytime and on anyone. In fact, most of the color palette was autumnal— amethyst, teal, garnet, tanzanaite—that could be seen as commercially counter-intuitive given it is for Fall/Winter rather than just Fall. But actually, the idea of carrying through those colors until February and ditching the predictable winter black is rather appealing.

The final element that stood out was a subtle signature print: It meshed perfectly with the collection’s overall point of view, but scaled up, it might look like something under a medical microscope. I’m not sure if that was the intention, but given that they look and think like bohemian artists, it wouldn’t surprise me.

Follow Mary Fellowes on Twitter @maryfellowes

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