Simmering anticipation for the Superstars of Project Runway came to a bubble on the evening of March 19 as current fashion’s leading “it” man and Coachella Valley darling Michael Costello brought five fellow alumni to share the runway under the Toscana Country Club Runway Tent in Palm Desert.
The buzz at the preceding reception was nothing short of spectacular as the eager audience sampled appetizers courtesy of Trio Restaurant of Palm Springs and readied for a night of glamour.
Opening to a full house, the impressive lineup that included Viktor Luna, Andy South (also known as Ariyaphon Southiphong), Helen Castillo, Uli Herzner, and Irina Shabayeva offered up haute couture originals and unveiled their latest collections for the spring season.
While the designers presented an assortment of pret-a-porter, cocktail, and bridal wear, the crowd ooh’d and aah’d over the elegant evening attire. Common attributes among the various and distinct designs gave tribute to polished retro styles and edgy structured tailoring. Translucent fabrics meshed with rich velvets, leather, and lace. Body-skimming silks shined from the stage. Dominating decorative details exploded with embroidery, embossing, beads, cutouts, sequins, and feathers.
Costello opened the show with a filmed profile reminiscent of a Project Runway reality show real, introducing one of his two collections, MT Costello, a new collaboration with his cousin and business partner, Stephanie Costello.
Raising the level of beauty and sophistication, the MT Collection dramatically overtook the runway with gorgeous gowns in gothic, empire silhouettes with a hard rock edge. Black lace and velvet patterns united with deeper plums and red colors for a dark romantic perspective. High collars juxtaposed with plunging necklines evoked an overall fee that was simultaneously feminine, and fierce.
Viktor Luna entertained with his forward-looking, punk rock–inspired exhibition combining primitive fringe, feather, and animal-print accents with leather, exposed zippers, embroidery, and military-style jackets to create a powerfully progressive statement for the avant-garde wild warrior.
Representing a modern, slightly futuristic approach to evening and ready-to wear, Andy South chose a simple, sophisticated monochromatic palette with elongated frames, departing from high contrast trends. Dolman sleeves, airy trapeze shapes, and draping fabrics impressed spectators.
In what seemed to pay homage to mid-modern chic and ladylike style, Helen Castillo put a contemporary spin on refined social attire. Featuring bold canary and cobalt colors as well as pastels in softer yellows and blues, her intricate craftsmanship was evident in the application of lace overlays and sheer paneling woven into constructed tulip forms.
Uli Herzner’s vision embraced otherworldly grace with delicately draped fabrics and ethereal earth tones. Shimmering lace skirts played well soft furs that seemed to move with just a touch. Soft metallics and bejeweled embellishments added to the affect.
Irina Shebayeva’s collection took flight with an aviation fantasy showcasing bird-like feathers and natural butterfly winged patterns. Exotic, brightly colored ball gowns thrilled, but a collective gasp was heard when a cloud of blue and white bridal dresses descended upon the runway.
Cheers erupted when Michael Costello returned to the stage to reflect his signature collection, inspired by New York in the winter, with a 1960s Valley of the Dolls vibe, for the finale. Sculptural arrangements with architectural elements were tastefully sharp and infused with Victorian overtures to define the feminine form. Guests rose to a standing ovation as Costello and fellow designers bid good night, and an exhilarated crowd departed raving about the show.