When we found out that Jeffrey Costello and Robert Tagliapietra were going to be at Barneys New York in Chicago I jumped at the opportunity to meet them. Second City Style has loved the designs of mostly dresses by the two plaid clad designers season after season during New York Fashion Week, and I often declared Costello Tagliapietra the best of all the shows. Last Friday they were here for their recently launched C&T Costello Tagliapietra collection which is an exclusive line of dresses that retail under $300 that incorporate the same vivid colors and exquisite draping that flatters every figure. I told them when I met them that we were excited to have an accessible line of their creations. They were both sweet and genuine and we shared a lot of laughs.
SCS: So how did the C&T line come to be?
Robert: It’s easier to say, isn’t it? (he laughed). It was always our plan to do a line like this with an accessible price point. We did a collaboration with UNIQLO and we saw a girl on a bike in one of the dresses. We thought that was great to see someone wearing one of our dresses like that! So we were happy to work on this collection with The Jones Group on with about a $290 price point. This is not a diffusion line. People are smart and we did not dummy it down.
SCS: I am trying to picture this…how do you work together on a collection?
Robert: We are just 2 guys in our apartment making patterns and draping. We call the pieces “our ladies”. Our dresses are never about trends. We created timeless pieces since day one. We think about a woman, not a 15 year-old girl and we have worked with a lot of private clients. At the end of the day we know that women want to feel comfortable and beautiful.
SCS: Can you tell us more about your personal style…why don’t you wear an Air Dye shirt of your own design, for example?
Robert: (laughing) Our first mentor was Anna [Wintour], and she told us to be honest and to always be us.
SCS: Well it’s so interesting that you look alike and I’m not sure if anyone knows who is who, but maybe that is OK?
Jeffrey: When we first met I was wearing jeans, a white T-shirt, suspenders and a plaid shirt and Robert was wearing jeans a white T-shirt suspenders and a plaid shirt tied around his waist. People do confuse us, in fact, when I am at his mother’s house she will call me Robert.
SCS: Will you continue to do more C&T Collections?
Robert: Yes, this first capsule is all solids and in another month we will introduce prints. Next we will do knits and add some separates and see what is needed into fall.
SCS: We always love your shows at New York Fashion Week and all of our editors fight to get to go. The dresses are really collectable.
Robert: We really want it to be that way. When we start a collection, we start with colors, not typical mood boards. Our process is pattern making and draping, then we get into the fibers. We are self taught and never worked for another company.
SCS: Well your really nailed it with your dresses. Not too short, some are more body revealing than others but it is like there is something for every woman.
Robert: We believe the dress is the most modern pieces of clothing. The dress is an iconic piece – it’s one stop shopping.
I tired on about six of the dresses and they were all so amazing it was hard for me to decide on only one!
Shop for C&T Costello Tagliapietra at Barneys New York Co-Op and online.
– Carol Calacci
Photos: Second City Style and Barneys