Best of The Daily: Catching Up With Costello Tagliapietra

by The Daily Front Row

(NEW YORK) As the year draws to a close, The Daily can’t help but revist some of our best pieces from 2013…A recent move from their Brooklyn apartment/studio makes Costello Tagliapietra one of the newest brands to land in the midst of Manhattan’s Garment District, but they’re certainly not new faces to the block. The brand, which was created by Robert Tagliapietra and Jeffrey Costello in 2004, is offering a fresh take on their finely tailored collection and cribbing inspiration from their own personal style. Cue the plaid! 

How’s the commute to your new Manhattan offices treating you? 
Robert Tagliapietra: The commute used to be from our bedroom to the office, so it’s super exciting to finally have a space in Manhattan. The only upset is that we don’t get to have our dog with us every day, which is sad. He is fine with it because he gets to sleep all day, but he doesn’t get to play with the interns. 

Any other downsides to the move besides  being dogless?
So far, we like being in the Garment District. But it’s amazing how much time we spend commuting back and forth. So we’ve found ourselves devoting more time to design while we’re in the office.

A recap, please: How did you two first meet?
We met in 1994, at The Sound Factory, back in the heyday when it was a cool bar. We had seen each other, but we were both too bashful to talk to each other.  After three weeks of just nervously looking at each other, a mutual friend of ours forced us together and made us start talking. Soon after, we started working together. As it turned out, both of us come from families that had tailors and we knew people who worked in this industry.

When did you start working together?
Jeffrey was working on Madonna’s “Bedtime Story” video at the time, and I used that as my chance to wiggle my way in. That was the start of our working relationship. At the time, I  was still in school for painting, but it was sort of a no brainer to start working and see where that went. 

So how did you get to your eponymous brand, as we know it today?
RT: We started our collection by creating little dresses and giving them to friends who are stylists and for them to shoot. So in the early 2000s we would get a dress in Dutch or i-D magazine through word of mouth. In 2004, we put a small capsule together and sent it to Vogue. From that collection, they wrote an article on us, so in a way, naiveté helped us out. We had never worked for other companies, so it was really about learning through mistakes and learning through other’s mistakes. 

Does your signature sartorial style always affect your designs?
 It hadn’t before this season, but we wanted to introduce it a little more. The exercise of Spring 2014 was creating a whole wardrobe for a person and having our own touches in there. By doing so we sort of jokingly took our [Costello Tagliapietra] woman on a vacation. We just wanted to ease her up a little by injecting our own personal style in there. This was seen in the reverse tuxedo pant that we wear all the time, or our signature plaid being blurred out to make it softer and more feminine. 

How did you create the blurred plaid print?
 We’ve used a dye process for the past couple of seasons that uses absolutely no water and very little energy to dye. It’s essentially a digital print created by a computer that dictates how deep the print goes into the fabric. With this process, it allows us the opportunity to dye both sides of the fabric, which can’t be done through conventional dying processes, because it would bleed through.

And the shoes the new addition to your line as well?
Yes! We had them hand-made in Greece and again it was also about easing up the collection. It was the first time that we he’d ever sent anything shorter a 4-inch heel down the runway. We wanted to create something that felt kind of graphic and simple on the runway, so you get these injections of color and graphic detail in the foot.

How does the collection reflect the tailoring that runs in your families?
Jeffrey Costello: 
For us, the process of design, whether it’s sewing or pattern-making, kind of forms how we create the collection. Just taking it though a machine and finding a new way to stitch a seam is exhilarating for us. To us, a good fitting pant is an exciting moment! 
RT: All of our dresses have little lace details and little inside things that makes her feel special when she puts it on. At the end of the day, putting something on is just as exciting as taking it off.

Do you have collabs or special projects on the docket?
We’re always working on things like that. I still see women on the street in the Uniqlo dresses we designed, and we did that three years ago! So when you can do something that touches on timelessness or if we can create something that can live in your wardrobe for many years, that’s an exciting accomplishment for us. 
JC: And haven’t we all raided our parent’s closets? Guilty!

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