5 Minutes with Aurelio Costarella

On costume design, Perth fashion and bloggers

Aurelio Costarella is one of Australia’s most respected fashion designers, which I found out last year when I laid eyes on his exhibition of exquisite gowns at Aurelio Costarella: A 30 Year Retrospective.

Now the WA fashion designer is making another impact in Perth, but instead of his creations being put behind glass, they will be hugging the bodies of actresses on stage.

Aurelio Costarella

From 4-20 June, the romantic play The Song was Wrong (directed by Melissa Cantwell) will take over the Studio Underground at the State Theatre Centre of WA.

The Song was Wrong tells the story of a Pianist and the woman he loved and lost, their instant attraction and passionate love affair, the decisions they made and how their lives are entwined forever.

Aurelio created the costumes with Fleur Kingsland, and I was lucky enough to ask him a few questions about fashion and theatre…

Aurelio Costarella

The play is based on a musician and his muse; do you currently have a muse? 

I have recently been inspired by the work of Man Ray and the women/artists he photographed in Paris in the 1920’s. Lolita De Lempicka, Sonia Delaunay, Kiki de Montparnasse, Lee Miller, Nancy Cunard and Josephine Baker.aurelio costarella costume design

Which costume is your favourite, and why? 

AURELIO COSTARELLA'S SS14 DE LEMPICKA DRESS
Aurelio Costarella’s De Lempicka Dress

I don’t have a particular favourite. The costumes evolve and add to the narrative of the work. I do enjoy the use of The De Lempicka print through costumes, which is based on one of my paintings.

Have you ever worked on a play before? Would you do it again?

I have worked with theatre, opera and ballet over the years. It’s something I particularly enjoy as it takes me away from the fashion space. It allows me to express my creativity in a completely different way. Working with artistic directors, actors, dancers, staging etc is a collaborative process I particularly enjoy.

What do you think of the Perth fashion scene? 

The Perth fashion space has evolved enormously since I began my career 32 years ago. It has become a vibrant playing field for many emerging designers. It now has designers that compete on a national and international level. It’s a very exciting time.

What do you think of the fashion blogger movement? 

I don’t really have an opinion on it. It doesn’t affect how designers design, but it may affect the hierarchy of who sits in the first row of your show though, ha ha!

If you could dress anyone, who would it be?

My answer has always been Charlize Theron. As fate would have it, this year we had the opportunity of dressing Ms Theron for a campaign to promote the new Capital Development in Melbourne. The campaign was shot in LA and we landed the main campaign image, which has Ms Theron reclining in our Lamour gown taking a bite out of the apple of temptation.

charlize-theron-aurelio costarella

Wow, congratulations! Any advice for aspiring designers?

Keep it real. Don’t get caught up in the hype. This industry is incredibly tough but if you stay true and work hard and you will survive.

To see a story of romance and Aurelio’s designs in the flesh, book tickets from $30.

Aurelio Costarella dress

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