Presentation turned show, the line for Paul Costelloe snaked from the formal oak meeting room, through the reception, and out onto the streets of Piccadilly. Those that made the two hour wait were greeted by a Champagne reception under the faded gold frescoes of the Regency-style hotel, as day one of London Fashion Week drew to a close.
Using both Belfast linen (from John England) and Wexford linen (from Emblem Weavers), there was a political thread woven throughout this quiet, contemplative collection; a nod toward unity in post-Brexit Britain and of creativity through collaboration – for Spring/Summer, the narrative of England and Ireland. Though fabric may have spoken of beauty through alliance, show notes made a sly nod toward ‘The Ballard of William Gloat’, a poem by Raymond Calvert of black humour and death, that alludes to the superiority of Irish made: “The strangest turn of the whole concern, Is only just beginning, He went to hell but his wife got well, And she’s still alive and sinning, For the razor blade was Japanese made, But the rope was Belfast linen.”
The earthy neutral tones of the linen, reminiscent of soft sand and the fading light of summer, were lifted by blue organza sheers – softly ruffled, creases like breaking waves, and a smooth grey pebble as the print. Though lines were strict, skin bared under cut away slits, there was something organic and effortless across the palette and textures. A collection that felt resolute in its heritage, yet effortlessly modern in its execution.