By Sarah Mills
LONDON, Sept 15 (Reuters) - Paul Costelloe opened London Fashion Week on Friday, with the Irish designer saying he was "bringing back a bit of romance" to the catwalks with feminine dresses and soft, fluid looks.
The 78-year-old's collection dressed models in unstructured jackets - some with tails, wide-leg linen trousers, V- jumpers and floral printed dresses.
Plain dresses had ruffle details on the front and shoulders, while his spring/summer 2024 "Il Giardino" line, which was inspired by Italian film "The Garden of the Finzi-Continis", stuck to a colour palette of breezy blues, cream, sand and ecru.
"(I'm) bringing back a bit of romance and a bit of femininity into fashion," Costelloe told Reuters.
"We’ve become so aggressive and independent and all these other things that people have to require but I've just gone back to the old style of beautiful fashion show, beautiful models."
Against an illustrated garden backdrop, some models carried tennis rackets or croquet mallets.
London is the second leg of the month-long spring/summer 2024 calendar that began in New York and will also take place in Milan and Paris. Over coming days, London will host presentations from the likes of Burberry, JW Anderson, Erdem, and Molly Goddard.
This year, the British Fashion Council (BFC) is celebrating 30 years of its NEWGEN programme, which provides financial support and mentoring for designers.
Past recipients have included the late Alexander McQueen, as well as Erdem and Anderson. As in previous years, this year's cohort will showcase their collections at London Fashion Week, which runs until Tuesday.
"To be in London is incredible... a great melting pot of creative industries intertwined but the cost of rents, the cost of living, the increased costs, the impact of Brexit, has I don't think has ever been any harder (for young designers)," BFC Chief Executive Caroline Rush told Reuters.
"It is really difficult for our young designer businesses to get partnership and sponsorship opportunities for their shows. So I know that many businesses have really focused creatively on how they can produce a show this season, as well of course, the creativity of the collections."
(Reporting by Sarah Mills; Writing by Marie-Louise Gumuchian; Editing by Alexander Smith)