How I create

Photo of Michael Costello at New York Fashion Week, February 2017I’ve loved fashion since I was a kid. Even when I was just three, I was interested in designing. I opened my first boutique at 15 and have never really been as passionate about anything else. Given that, you might think the creative process is something that’s easy for me. But it’s actually pretty tough. Here’s a peek into that process, and how I collaborate with different teams around the world to bring our designs to the runway.

Letting inspiration strike

Photo of gold fabrics

I start with the fabric and the form, then start to drape and put pieces together to see how the fabric moves. It’s always been very important to me to make sure that the way my designs fit will make a woman feel confident. This can only come from a harmony of fit and fabrication. If the fit’s off, or the fabric doesn’t move the way it’s intended, a woman can’t embody the way I want my designs to feel.

Photo of a model on the runway at the Michael Costello show at New York Fashion Week, February 2017

Ultimately, I want to create striking, beautiful dresses. It’s highlighting the beauty and skin of a woman through color and silhouette. I want to give women the confidence to be seen and heard—and feel beautiful—while doing it.

But there’s a lot more that goes into it. You have to let your fabric—and your client—speak to you. Design is a roller coaster of creativity. Working with your materials and passion is what guides you toward your goal.

You also have to make room for inspiration when it comes your way. I’m currently fascinated by French romance. It’s playing into almost everything I’m doing with my upcoming collection, from the music to picking fabrics. It’s been a real place of inspiration for me.

Working as a team

Photo of stylist Charlotte Welch and designer Michael Costello
Stylist Charlotte Welch with Michael Costello

No matter what kind of creative project you’re taking on, your team’s important. It takes a village to put on our show at New York Fashion Week. We work with teams across the globe—New York, Poland, California, Miami, etc. It’s been a really exciting project to work on, but honestly, it took a lot of communication and brainstorming.

Photo of a model backstage at the Michael Costello show at New York Fashion Week, February 2017

My team was working overtime figuring out all of the new elements that we had to incorporate creatively. We had new challenges like how to create a hair and makeup look that stands out when it’s 20 feet tall. That meant we needed to imagine a lighting story for the show, since there would be no sound on the jumbotron. It was kind of like seeing the show in a whole new light, so to speak. We needed to communicate with a lot of different teams, and constantly keep everyone accountable and in touch.

Putting it on Paper

Animated screenshot of Dropbox Paper doc used by designer Michael Costello's team

One thing that made styling much easier was that we were using Dropbox Paper. We had a clear layout of our creative decisions within the moment. It made us so much more organized, honestly. Usually we would have dates to send out creative updates, but with Paper we could just share all the changes almost instantly. My stylist, Charlotte Welch, was thrilled that we could work on our own independent time clocks, while still being on the same page. She’s a morning person, and I love working at night. So it was helpful to have info to communicate without long emails or trying to catch up with a phone call once a day.

Photo of Michael CostelloMichael Costello is one of the most prominent celebrity fashion designers in the world. A self-taught prodigy, Michael has built a massive empire by making women of all shapes and sizes feel beautiful and upending an industry that lacked diversity and excitement to reach millennials like him.