On Season 8 of Project Runway, Michael Costello was known as the one who cried a lot. Now he’s known as the designer who created Beyonce’s show-stopping dress for the Grammys this year—along with two dozen slinky costumes for her On the Run tour with Jay-Z. Hue considers that a step up.
Costello, who has almost 592,000 followers on Instagram as of today, and who regularly grosses six figures a month from his L.A. showroom, guest-spoke at Fashion Events Planning Confidential, a class in FIT’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies taught by Barbara Berman, on Wednesday. He gabbed about designing dresses for the Kardashians, Paris Hilton, and, of course, the Queen Bey.
The Beyonce dress came about after her stylist, Ty Hunter, scheduled a visit to his showroom. Hunter, always referring to Beyonce as “she,” said, “She wants to be naked. She wants to be sexy. She wants to effortless.”
Costello showed him all 300 dresses in the showroom, but nothing clicked. Hunter asked what he was working on. It was a collection called “Winter Wonderland,” inspired by a recent trip to New York. (Those of us who actually had to live through this past winter might have selected choicer verbiage to describe it.)
Hunter gravitated toward an unfinished white gown made of fabric pieces shaped like flowers and lined with nude mesh. “When we put it on the model, he was like ‘Yesssss,’” Costello recalls.
But no one told Costello when or whether Beyonce would actually wear the dress. He prayed that she would wear it to the Grammys. She wasn’t on the red carpet, though, and when she did appear, in a smoking La Perla “Cage” vest for her opening act, his heart sank.
Less a minute later, Hunter posted a close-up of the white flower fabric on his Instagram feed and linked to Costello’s page. A few seconds after that, Costello got 5,000 followers.
Once the performance was over, Beyonce appeared in the dress. “After that, it just blew up,” he says.