It would be tough indeed to find a male design duo more appealing than Jeffrey Costello and Robert Tagliapietra. In addition to cutting killer draped dresses season after season, their uniform--plaid, suspenders, and those signature grizzled beards--make them the original cuddly hipsters of the fashion world. But back to those dresses!
Whether their frocks are cowl- or halter-necked, wrapped or belted, the guys consistently resist the urge to incorporate newfangled cuts or daring body-con. This was no different for spring '12, but amongst their usual bold solids, Costello and Tagliapietra worked in a number of gorgeous digital-print numbers too. “We took photos of flowers, put them on the computer and layered and layered them,” Costello said. “That’s how the prints came out and informed the collection.” As for the palate--forest green, grey-blue, dusty rose-colored prints--Tagliapietra told us "the colors don’t wear you, they emphasize your personality.” Simon Doonan agrees. “I thought the colors were enormously sophisticated," he said. "They have an unusual juxtaposition of color." The designers employed AirDye technology to color their fabrics without wasting a single drop of water, an energy-friendly practice they've used for several seasons running. It's astounding that an H20-free dye process can result in colors as vibrant as crisp as these, and since it's no more expensive than traditional colorings, one wonders why more designers don't publicly endorse this technology.
Leaving the studio, I spotted both Leigh Lezark and Corinne Bailey Rae walking out alongside me. These girls couldn't be more different in terms of personal style or favored musical genre, but therein lies the secret to Costello Tagliapietra's fan base: the boys know how to make easy, flattering dresses that work for all.
**All images: Imaxtree