“Have dressed Nine Inch Nails. Madonna. And Depeche Mode” isn’t a bragging right likely to be listed on most New York fashion designer resumes, but that’s part of what makes Costello Tagliapietra’s pedigree so unique. There’s also the fact that, in only six years, the Brooklyn-based, CFDA-honored duo of Jeffrey Costello and Robert Tagliapietra have established one of the most progressive eco-conscious high fashion labels in the world. Their design ideals spring from nature — shimmering palettes inspired by rain, floriform dresses manifest from crocuses, and flame-like silhouettes all have been collection highlights. Their method of production is equally ethical and organic: they are famous proponents of Air-Dye, an innovative fabric dyeing process that greatly reduces water waste.
Interestingly, their line’s gleaming beauty belies the designers’ fondness for angst-driven music. But somewhere between Trent Reznor and origami flowers, there’s bound to be a logical thread. Tagliapietra reveals to Rolling Stone the duo’s favorite left-of-the-dial music, the enduring allure of Courtney Love and what we can expect to see on their Spring 2012 catwalk on September 9th. (Hint: it’s hazy).
Also be sure to check out their industrial and synth-heavy picks for this week’s Designer Playlist here.
I know you’re big industrial fans. Word is you have worked with NIN. Details?
Yes, Nine Inch Nails was my first concert ever! Trent opened with Think Tree for Peter Murphy’s “Strange Kind of Love” tour. Ten years later, we were costuming the band for the Fragile tour. What can you say about Trent? He is brilliant and “Ringfinger” is still on heavy rotation at our studio!
Is music ever a conscious motif that plays out in your designs? Or is it simply amazing creative fuel that helps inspire the process?
Music plays a part as a muse through creating an atmosphere for the collection. We definitely have our go-to’s from Cocteau Twins to the Smiths, but sometimes it is a random album or song that gets played over and over again that shadows everything you are creating.
Which musicians, aside from Nine Inch Nails, have you had the pleasure of wardrobing?
Jeffrey began his career in the Eighties wardrobing the likes of Depeche Mode, Dee-Lite, A Flock of Seagulls. In fact, we met thanks to Lauren Roselli of Book of Love who introduced the two of us at the Sound Factory in the early Nineties — Jeffrey dressed Lauren and her band as well. Our first project we worked on together were pieces for Madonna’s “Bedtime Story” video.
Any current favorite style muses?
Currently, it’s tough — there are so many great musicians out there but fashion is much more intertwined in it, so there are fewer Courtney Loves a la Pretty On The Inside. Coming out, she had such great personal style and it wasn’t all about product placement. It is always great before the big houses get their hands on up and comers. But I think even today, our boyhood dreams of dressing Kate Bush or Elizabeth Fraser are still waiting to come true!
How do you choose the music for your shows?
We go through a bunch of our recent loves and try to come up with a story; we work with Geordon [Nicol] and the Misshapes every season because they understand our tastes and always create the perfect soundscape for the collection. Last season, we had been going back and forth and after hearing the final edit, all the songs had a story of love which was a great way to represent the story of that collection.
What can we expect at your Spring 2012 show?
Florals and femininity — the fashion equivalent to shoegaze.
What is a memorable concert experience for you?
Tagliapietra: Morrissey at Jones Beach, around 1990. I got on stage! Also, the Cure, Pixies, and Love & Rockets at Giants Stadium. Depeche Mode also played with Nitzer Ebb and the Jesus and Mary Chain at that time, which was great, too. So many great tours in the very early Nineties.
Jeffrey Costello: In the Spring of 1978, I ran away from home and got to see X-Ray Spex four or five times during their two week “residency” at CBGBs. “Germ Free Adolescents” is still a favorite record. RIP Polly Styrene!
Any albums or concerts this year you particularly loved or are anticipating?
We are excited to see Twin Shadow! Throwing Muses are coming back, too!
Have you ever made a regrettable fashion error in the name of music?
Thankfully, no— can’t think of any regrettable songs!
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