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AURELIO COSTARELLA

RUTH TARVYDAS | WAYNE COOPER | NINA MAYA | LIA TSIMOS |
FASHION FUTURE INTERVIEW QUESTIONS

Australian designer Aurelio Costarella talks of timeless style and his fashion journey.

For over 25 years architecturally trained Aurelio (Ray) Costarella has been creating exquisite women’s wear. His designs have been admired and worn by international stars and local heroines. The creative behind Aurelio Costarella and Aurelio Costarella Couture (launched 2000) has always been based in Western Australia and is earning a formidable reputation internationally as he turns his local company into an international luxury brand.

Since 2006 Aurelio Costarella has had a presence at New York Fashion Week and G’Day USA, building a strong retail base and loyal celebrity/media interest in the label.
In doing so Aurelio Costarella focuses the global fashion spotlight not just on himself but also on the Australian fashion industry.

The Aurelio Costarella studio is located in a converted Post Office in North Perth, WA, where all designs and samples are created. 10 fulltime and 2 part time staff members are employed, with approx 40 Interns (international and national) and work placement students obtaining experience within the studio annually.

Celebrity Clients include: Rihanna, Dita Von Teese, Tyra Banks, Sharon Stone, Mia Maestro, Melissa George, Leelee Sobieski, Geri Halliwell, Tina Arena, Tara Moss, Dannii Minogue, Jessica Mauboy and Anna Oritz.


AWARDS
2009 Winner FGI International Achievement Award
2009 Winner Caulfield Classic Style Awards
2009 Finalist Prix de Marie Claire Awards
2008 Listed in the Who’s Who of Australia 2008
2007 Listed in the Who’s Who of Australia 2007
2007 Winner Small Business Champion (WA Fashion)
2007 WA Citizen of The Year (Culture and the Arts) nomination
2005 Spring/summer 05/06 show voted ‘One of the Best’ at RAFW
2004 WA Designer Of The Year Award
1. Why is it so rewarding to be a leading Fashion Designer
It allows me the opportunity to express myself creatively. It is the creative side of this business that has kept me going for so long. The perceived glamour associated with the fashion industry is just that - a perception. It’s bloody hard work, and if it wasn’t for the creative outlet I would probably have long ago moved on.

2. Where do you get your inspirations from?
LIFE! anything and everything around me inspires me to want to create. Architecture, nature, people, art, film, music, colour, all inspire my work.

3. What has been your greatest achievement?
Taking my brand to a global market. Having the opportunity to show in New York has allowed me to take my Perth based brand to an international audience. Surviving in this industry for 26 years has also been a major achievement. I’ve seen many come and go along the way.

4. What has been your greatest challenge and how did you overcome it?
Basing myself in the most isolated city in the world (Perth) has certainly made it difficult coping with time differences and travel.

5. Whose style do you most admire?
Style is something that can’t be taught. It is innate and very few are blessed with the gift. Coco Chanel, Tina Chow, Audrey Hepburn, Greta Garbo, Marlene Dietrich, Marissa Berenson and her grandmother Elsa Schiaparelli, Jackie Kennedy, Lauren Hutton, Faye Dunaway , Lauren Bacall are all women who have shaped the way that I look at style. Classic, chic and effortless.

6. What changes in your business, if any, have you made to adapt to the current economic climate?

None. My motto thru-out the GFC was to keep doing what we do best. Our sales over the past 12 months are way up on the previous year so clearly we are doing something right.

7. Divulge the fashion piece that you couldn't live without?
My Rick Owen vests

8. What is your worst fashion faux pas?
It would have to have been in the 80’s I have blocked it out but it would of been inspired by the New Romatics, big hair and diamantes broaches, wrong!”
9. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Firmly established in the international market. Regularly showing on international runways.
We have plans for Aurelio Costarella stores both nationally and internationally. To build on the success we have had over the years and to solidify the business.

10. What advice can you offer to emerging fashion designers?
Work in the industry for a while. Learn as much as you can from a mentor. Don’t assume that you can come right out of college and start a label. There are so many pitfalls in this industry that they don’t teach you about at Fashion School.
11. Aurelio’s ‘HOT TIP’ –
Leave those bad 80’s images in your mind behind Leather pants are set for a huge comeback in 2010.

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