Paul Costelloe presents a confident AW19 collection at London Fashion Week

It was a full house for the Paul Costelloe AW19 collection at Simpson’s in the Strand this season, with Vogue Williams (he made her wedding dress) and husband Spencer Matthews drawing plenty of attention on the FROW. Imelda May was also in attendance alongside Irish stylist Dee Moran, influencer Louise Cooney and models Louise O’Reilly and Nadia Forde. In fact, the Irish were out in force to support the industry stalwart, and he didn’t disappoint.

In something of a return to form, Costelloe displayed his mastery of tailoring in what was one of his more confident collections in recent years; the military inspired coats in pure Italian wool were especially striking. Speaking backstage after his show, Costelloe revealed he “went back to his roots” for inspiration, but also attempted to figure out where the gaps were in London Fashion Week. “I felt they were in tailoring. And then with the empire collapsing, I thought I’d do a Rule Britannia, with a little bit of a smile on my face, so you’ve got the beautiful gowns and the military coats and that kind of combination of war and peace to some extent."

Paul Costelloe AW19

Opulent, mill-engineered velvet corduroy in autumnal shades of gold and claret added to an array of day-to-evening pieces, including pencil skirts worn with oversized Aran knitwear. "I know Aran sweaters aren’t in this season - they were last season - but I thought I’d carry them through and keep the Irish element alive,” explained the designer.

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Although '80s references appeared especially strong, Costelloe says it was purely accidental. “Oddly enough, I never know what era I’m in. But yes, there are lots of shoulder pads, I suppose. The trick is not to make them as awful as Sue Ellen's”

Paul Costelloe AW19

Paul Costelloe AW19

Paul Costelloe AW19

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Paul Costelloe AW19

Paul Costelloe AW19

While the baby doll dresses may prove challenging for some, the military-style coats will be everyday heroes. Other stars included a khaki silk shirt and tweed combination, intoxicating in its simplicity, and then, by complete contrast, a full-length gold brocade evening dress which closed the show. It left the audience with an air of positivity and a sense that whatever happens with Brexit over the next few weeks, the show must always go on.

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