Some designers create secondary lines to stretch their creativity, others do it to bolster their bottom lines. It’s probably a bit of both for Jeffrey Costello and Robert Tagliapietra, who are launching the contemporary C&T Costello Tagliapietra line for spring, but, mostly, the duo says, it’s about something else.
“This is almost like a love letter to all the women we worked with who couldn’t afford what equates to rent on a dress,” Tagliapietra says. “They would buy clothes that were a lot more affordable or wait until things were on sale. We can finally give women something they can just buy and not have to stress about.”
The line of 13 dresses, each retailing for $298, is the fruit of a licensing partnership with The Jones Group, which started about a year ago, when Council of Fashion Designers of America chief executive officer Steven Kolb introduced the designers to Richard Dickson, Jones’ president and chief executive officer of branded businesses.
“It’s always been a dream of ours to do something that was more accessible in terms of price point and had a broader reach,” Tagliapietra says.
Tagliapietra and Costello, the rugged, bearish-looking pair who tied the knot in a small civil ceremony last month, are best known for their draping skills and eye for color — elements they wanted to incorporate into their new venture. Thus, the easy, fluid dresses are draped and gathered — nine in rayon jersey and four in silk — and done in mostly muted hues such as a soft graphite, teal and peacock blue. “So many dresses we make are almost like palettes for jewelry or accessories,” Tagliapietra says. “It’s how we look at the older way of dressing, how women would pull their favorite heirloom necklace they cherished.”
Yet they didn’t want the collection to feel vintage. “There’s a timelessness without locking into any age group,” Costello notes, adding that they’re already thinking of additional categories for C&T, including jewelry and men’s wear. “And we’d love to add accessories to the mix, like shoes and bags,” he says. “We’d also like to add more sportswear aspects.”
For Jones, C&T is an addition to a growing portfolio of designer-name diffusion brands that already includes Rachel Rachel Roy and B Brian Atwood. “I have been a big admirer of their product for some time, and the idea of bringing their technique in dressmaking to a wider range of customers was an exciting proposition,” Dickson says. “We are slowly building a new crop of what we call ‘next generation big businesses.’ C&T fits perfectly into that strategy of growth for us. They are passionate about what they do, and they are a cultural fit with what we are building.”
“Just having them as personalities around the complex here infuses fun,” adds Dickson, who declined to disclose sales projections. C&T will initially launch exclusively at Barneys New York Co-Op in March, with further distribution aimed at upscale department and specialty stores after that.
For Costello and Tagliapietra, saying they hope their new dresses will become a woman’s favorite is an understatement. “There is no better compliment than somebody who wears something over and over again until it’s almost in tatters,” Tagliapietra says. “We love that. The thought of someone just sticking it in her closet is never our goal.”
London’s newly opened @designmuseum will look back on the life and work of Azzedine Alaïa in a show that the designer helped to curate before he died of heart failure last month. The retrospective, which Alaïa had worked on with Mark Wilson, chief curator of the @groningermuseum, will look at the impact of his work worldwide. The show, “Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier,” will run from May 10 to October 7. Read more about the exhibit on WWD.com #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @zefashioninsider)
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@carineroitfeld celebrated @crfashionbook’s first calendar last night with a dinner party at Spring Place in Manhattan. Photographed by @stevenkleinstudio, the calendar takes on a fitness theme and features @joansmalls, @gigihadid, @danielle_herrington_ – pictured here – and more. “[Carine Roitfeld] wanted me to feel sexy and she wanted me to be myself and feel it out on my own and do what I felt was right,” said Herrington, aka Miss October. #wwdeye
@saintrecords and @virgilabloh last night at @americanexpress’ “A Night With Success Makers” event. “I always bring it back to community because without that I wouldn’t have the courage,” said Knowles when asked how she has gotten where she is now. Read more highlights from their conversation on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @lizdoupnik)
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@google released its report on the most popular search terms this year. For fashion brands, the list was led by @gucci, the luxury brand that stunned the market last October when it pledged to stop using fur. Runner ups were @supremenewyork and @fashionnova, along with more established brands like @louisvuitton, @chanelofficial and @ysl. #wwdfashion (📷: @aitorrosasphoto)
In yet another fashion show shuffle, @elleryland is moving its show in sync with the Paris couture calendar — though the brand is still keeping one foot on the city’s ready-to-wear schedule. Their runway show in January will coincide with the launch of a new strategy: designing two main collections each year instead of four, which will then be released in four drops. “As we all know, the system needs to change. We need to show sooner to give time back to artisans and designers to do what they do best — create,” said founder Kym Ellery. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @kukukuba)
@maxmara’s classic 101801 coat was the cornerstone of its pre-fall 2018 collection. The design team expanded the traditional double-breasted, kimono-sleeved style into a trapeze coat, lean belted styles and a peacoat and presented them in monochromatic looks – like the camel one pictured here. #wwdfashion #prefall18 (📷: George Chinsee)