Industry chatter | Costello Tagliapietra, Derek Lam and Kim Jones


There are many paths a young fashion designer can take to achieve fame and fortune. But these paths are often meandering and always challenging. It can take many years for a designer to find their way.

Jeffrey Costello and Robert Tagliapietra first made a name for themselves as masters of the jersey dress — perhaps a bit of niche market, but one that they had down cold.  We met the eccentric and charming duo a couple of years ago when they were first embarking on their careers. We watched as Anna Wintour took a front row seat at their show, signaling the strong support they have from the fashion establishment.

Costello_tagliapietra_dress_2At the time, they had started to look for funding, but it seems they are still seeking the right backers. The New York Post published this humorous account of their ongoing search. The guys are as charming as ever, and they have a sense of humour.

Meanwhile, things have turned around for Derek Lam. A similar article was written about his early business challenges, albeit in a more serious tone, by Teri Agins of the Wall Street Journal a few years ago. Today, Derek is basking in the glow of a successful collaboration with Diego Della Valle as the Creative Director of Tods.

Lam’s own production and delivery record has improved a great deal as a result and he has successfully expanded into leather goods. Harriet Mays Powell of New York magazine posted a video sneak peak into Derek Lam’s studio, where he reveals that purple and green are the favoured colours of his newfound stability. There may be hope for Costello Tagliapietra yet.

And then there are designers who decide to call it quits on their own businesses, and move on to a big label. Some designers are just better suited to a setting where they can let their imaginations run free, but within a defined framework. Today Dunhill announced that Kim Jones will become its Creative Director, and Jones will shutter his own label as part of the deal.

To each his own.

Banner image courtesy of Viewimages.

The Business of Fashion

© 2008 Copyright Imran Amed – The Business of Fashion

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  1. I have to tell you I went gaga for the Bill Amberg for Dunhill collection a few years back (the sand colored Motorities line). It was my avenue to becoming a fan of the brand that previously only meant humidors, sterling bulldog cufflinks and Gosford Park references. Being so enamored of the one collection by that seasons guest author left me wanting more Dunhill that related to my life and my view of now, so I’m thrilled thrilled thrilled to hear about Kim Jones appointment. His shows are appealing and fascinating, to my view he has a cohesive vision of menswear he believes in. The news blasted layers of dust from the Dunhill nameplate in my mind, the all but forgotten brand that has nearly zero presence in the US, they sadly had to close all but one store, so I have great expectations. I don’t know what aspects of Mulberry and Vuitton he participated in and would be fascinated to know, if only to speculate on or mentally namecheck the kinds of aesthetics that could populate the forthcoming accessories.

    Randall from Fairfield, CA, United States
  2. Costello/Tagliapietra are prime examples of New York designers “stuck in a rut”. They need to evolve their collections. Watch out boys, here comes Halston.

    artefact212 from Gloversville, NY, United States
  3. It never fails to amaze me what people will do to keep a fashion business afloat. On the upside, New York and London are lucky to be hosting all this creativity- why doesn’t it exist in Paris, which feeds on foreign talent, or Milan? One thing about New York is a lot of the design tends to very homogenous, which is disappointing- everyone seems to think in lockstep. Of all the burgeoning New York labels, my money’s on Proenza Schouler.

    Anjo from Stanford, CA, United States