Costello Tagliapietra fans are in luck. The high end designers more affordable diffusion line for Barneys New York, called C&T, is continuing on for Pre-Fall and Fall/Winter 2012. The collection promises their signature dresses with flattering, feminine silhouettes, vibrant AirDye prints, and unexpected twists like knotting and a revealed midriff--and it is available now for pre-order online (dresses start at $298) at Barneys.com and in stores later this month.
Fall/Winter 2012 is packed with dresses that are perfect in a professional setting, proper cocktail parties, and for play, too. "With C&T it really is about clothes to wear to work and play," Jeffrey Costello and Robert Tagliapietra told me in an interview over email.
"They are more accessible yet still have that elegance and grace of Costello Tagliapietra." Silhouettes feature knee- to floor-length dresses, cinched waists that are fitted with ties and belts, and sleeveless to three-quarter length cropped sleeves.
Inspired by "hauntings" in both the pre-fall and fall collections, Costello and Tagliapietra sought to channel the "other-worldly, ethereal and nostalgic."
Prints play a prominent part in Costello Tagliapietra's collections. They continue to employ AirDye, a dying and printing technology that requires 88-95% less water than typical textile industry water consumption, for printing all of their prints, which were hand-painted by Costello.
"Jeffrey's chrysanthemums first appear playful and colorful like bursts of fireworks but then as the colors play off each-other they become a little darker," and, as Tagliapietra points out, "the petals look more like sea anemone and tentacles."
"We also used Airdye for the solids dyeing different colors on either side," Costello and Tagliapietra explained. "This gives the fabric a luminescence not easily achieved through normal dyeing processes." The color palette is rich with deep browns, reds, lilac and teal.
Most striking is the colorful sleeveless number, below. It is a timeless classic, a la Jackie O, which is always a good investment.
Riskier pieces include the midriff-baring grey bumper, below, that features the designers signature knotting.
Like the muffs and sequins that I questioned on Costello Tagliapietra's Fall 2011 runway , there are a few pieces that lack the design duos' nod to elegance. Enter the following look that features printed leggings styled with a bulky top.
Another look that pales in comparison to the others is an oversized coat that cinches with a tied belt and features a two-toned oversized collar. While it pairs well with the dresses, the style is more functional for fall than winter and comes up lacking compared to C&T's form-fitting pieces.
C&T's hits far outweigh their misses. It must be their experience making clothing for--and with--their customers in mind. "We definitely always think about what people respond to and listen to what people say," Costello and Tagliapietra told me. "The goal is to make women feel beautiful."