Paul Costelloe opens 40-year-old London Fashion Week with classic designs

By Thomson Reuters Feb 16, 2024 | 4:27 AM

By Natasha Montague and Marie-Louise Gumuchian

LONDON (Reuters) – London Fashion Week kicked off on Friday with Irish designer Paul Costelloe championing classic looks and bringing a little bit of nostalgia to the catwalk as the showcase event celebrates its 40th birthday.

The 78-year-old designer, who could not attend the show due to illness, presented a mix of whites, dark greys and plenty of tweeds in his “Once upon a Time” autumn/winter 2024 collection, described as “Where Limerick meets Downtown New York”.

Models in white jackets and floaty skirts opened the show. A selection of plaid looks followed, with the colour palette then turning darker for tailored tweed skirt suits, belted coats and short feminine dresses.

For the evening, there were patterned frocks with puffy sleeves.

“This collection expresses my view that classic design still has its place in high fashion,” Costelloe said in show notes.

“I have added a personal moment of nostalgia by adding a print based on the street where I once lived. It was a glorious moment to dream and live.”

Costelloe’s team also shared a note from the designer explaining his absence due to a virus and wishing London Fashion Week a “happy 40th birthday”.

This year marks 40 years since the British Fashion Council (BFC) held its first London Fashion Week, which is one of the four big catwalk fixtures alongside New York, Milan and Paris and is best known for its emerging talent and avant-garde trends.

On Thursday night, several London landmarks were lit up green for the occasion and other celebrations are planned for the year.

“Of course, 40 is kind of a coming of age, a maturity and when we look back, I think we reflect on the incredible creativity that has come through London, and London Fashion Week as a platform,” BFC Chief Executive Caroline Rush told Reuters.

“It continues to be about youth culture, subcultures, creativity, innovation and really leading where the rest of the fashion industry will no doubt follow.”

Costelloe’s show was one of more than 40 catwalk presentations this London Fashion Week, which runs until February 20, with the likes of Burberry, Bora Aksu and Mark Fast also on the calendar.

(Reporting by Marie-Louise Gumuchian and Natasha Montague; editing by Miral Fahmy)