Although I appreciate?the textured, classic cardigans and tailored trousers?Paul Costelloe designs for Dunnes Stores, I've never really "got"?his mainline collection. In the past, it's lacked something of the drama I look for in a runway show, as well as a hint?of the innovation?I long to see in catwalk clothes.
This year, his collection has struck a chord though. The opening piece of the show - an exquisitely tailored khaki jacket with oversized collars and fluted sleeves worthy of a Tudor queen - was a standout piece that worked on the runway and will work in a woman's day-to-day wardrobe too.
It set the tone for a collection that had regular surprises and at the very least frequent points of interest. His colour palette was anchored in shades of burgundy and taupe, but there were welcome flashes of cobalt blue and tangerine, which constantly forced me to refocus and served as a reminder that I actually didn't know what was coming next (in the past I've sometimes felt that I did). The metallic, mosaic-like print top, below, is one of my favourite pieces from the collection. The silhouette is flattering without being conventional, and the extended drape along with the metallic finish make it appear super-luxe. Imagine it over tuxedo trousers for a contemporary but chic form of cocktail wear.
Costelloe has always enjoyed working with tweed and herringbone, and these had a presence, as they should, in the form of tunic-style dresses?and a couple of tantalisingly good?coats.
Into the textural mix, he threw leather and lace too. I love the vampy black leather dress, below, with exaggerated puff sleeves?and oversized side pocket. It's a difficult task to create a little black dress that offers'something completely fresh. This version managed to do?that. Now, let's hope that his next collection for Dunnes Stores is just as nice a surprise.