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Costello Tagliapietra on Hollywood, fashion and the essence of Oscar style

Forget about the envelope. The red carpet is the true Thunderdome of Oscar night. With stylists and stars’ reputations forever hanging by a thread, what is chosen to be worn is a carefully orchestrated event. The goal? To make a statement that will generate plenty of media fire – good and bad. In this exclusive Personalities Interview, find out what the superstar New York-based design team of Costello Tagliapietra has to say about Hollywood style and its evolving role within the world of fashion.

The 84th Academy Award nominees for Best Costume Design are led by Mark Bridges for his work on The Artist.
The 84th Academy Award nominees for Best Costume Design are led by Mark Bridges for his work on The Artist.
The Weinstein Company
Sew Real: The burly charisma of Robert Tagliapietra (left) and Jeffrey Costello has captured the fashion world as the innovative design duo Costello Tagliapietra.
CostelloTagliapietra.com

Hear that sound? It is the mobilization of an army of stylists, hair and make-up artists invading hotels and homes all over Los Angeles with a singular mission: To make the women and men attending tonight’s 84th Academy Awards look every inch the star. With millions of dollars worth of media coverage at stake, making the right choice can either launch a designer’s career, reinforce their legend or leave it mangled on the red carpet as fashion road-kill.

For the award-winning design team of Jeffrey Costello and Robert Tagliapietra, it is not the snap judgments and snark that garners their interest. It is the narrative that can be found in the choices stars make when they dress for this singular event.

“It tells a story and gets people excited and talking which is part of the fun of fashion,” the duo said.

Since forming their partnership in 1994, Costello Tagliapietra’s fashion star has ascended to become an award-winning enterprise. Two-time finalists of the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund (2005 & 2006), their eco-friendly eye for color and fabric is put on extraordinary display thanks to their precision draping to create dynamic and practical silhouettes. Given the rigors of red carpet life, expect the swirling grace of Costello Tagliapietra’s designs to weather any camera-flash storm.

“At the core of what we do is an appreciation for the female form,” the duo added. “Costello Tagliapietra is about clothing that is feminine, with grace and elegance, the idea of timelessness is important to us as is confidence and sensuality.”

Find out more from Costello Tagliapietra in this exclusive Personalities Interviews as they offer their insights as a duo via E-mail on the power of Oscar, Hollywood and the rules of true style.

JORGE CARREON: Does Hollywood still influence global fashion or is it the catwalk that influences contemporary design in film and television?

COSTELLO TAGLIAPIETRA: We think Hollywood acts as a kind of time capsule for designers and people, in general. Films are a two-hour documentation of a costume designer's idea of what is going on aesthetically for a specific time in history. For that reason, I think it is a symbiotic relationship. Movies influence fashion and fashion influences movies. They feed off each other and serve as inspirations to each other. This is also how ideas and styles evolve, continually reinterpreted with added nuances that are right for the moment.

CARREON: Who are your Hollywood style icons, past and present?

CT: Women like Carole Lombard, Faye Dunaway, Shelley Duvall, Julie Christie, Sigourney Weaver

CARREON: Do you prefer period or contemporary design in film?

CT: This has more to do with the specific movie; we are huge science fiction fans as well and have loved the costuming on a variety of movies. Few come close to Michael Kaplan's Blade Runner, but Lord of the Rings did a beautiful job bringing a childhood favorite to life! We love the old Merchant Ivory films! This year, our friends…David Tabbert did a thoughtful job with Martha Marcy May Marlene, David Robinson always does great work and Shame was no different, and of course Arianne Philips is a master at defining a film through wardrobe.

CARREON: This year, the Oscar will go to a designer that has meticulously recreated a historical era. Have you had a chance to see any of the nominated films: Anonymous, The Artist, Hugo, Jane Eyre and/or W.E.? What would be your choice for prize?

CT: W.E. is quite spectacular and a great example of a film that will influence fashion in years to come.

CARREON: Arianne Phillips and the legendary Patricia Field, are designers/stylists who have greatly influenced the importance of fashion in entertainment. Do you see your team transitioning into costume design?

CT: Given the right opportunity, we would love to try out a film. We really loved Jean-Paul Gaultier's transition with movies like The Cook, The Thief, His Wife & Her Lover and City of Lost Children!

CARREON: Fashion takes center stage in terms of media coverage of such events like the Oscars. What style advice would you offer this year’s nominees as they prepare to hit the red carpet on Sunday?

CT: We always love the actresses who eschew the strictly stylist route and wear something that they truly love. You can always tell, and as viewers, we appreciate the risk, even when they miss.It is always special to see someone's personal style shine through the gown and the jewels.

Watch Billy Crystal host the 84th Academy Awards on Sunday, February 26, broadcasting live on ABC from the newly named Hollywood and Highland Center in Hollywood.

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