Renowned designer Paul Costelloe, who used to dress Princess Diana, on why he loves Northern Ireland

Paul Costelloe
Paul Costelloe

Recently rebranded and revamped shopping destination, The Boulevard, formerly known as The OULET, is continuing its new name celebrations with a host of fashion events, guest speakers, giveaways and beauty prizes across this weekend.

Based in Banbridge, the well known discount shopping centre has announced exciting new shops in recent months, with more to follow suit in the coming season.

Paul Costelloe

Paul Costelloe

The name-change follows a new roof covering and landscaping project, an investment which cost the group over £2million.

Centre manager Chris Nelmes told The Boulevard recently, “We changed our name as a reflection of new owners, the Lotus Group, who took over in April, 2016.

“The covering is something the Lotus Group did after listening to customers and their needs and investing where it is needed.

“There is full focus on new tenants. We had six new businesses in just before Christmas and there are new tenants arriving by the end of May, I can’t reveal who they are just yet - but they are big, international brands.

Paul Costelloe

Paul Costelloe

“There is a lot of work in progress still happening,”

Last week top Republic of Ireland and American designer Paul Costelloe, who has a store at the Boulevard, hosted an exclusive retailer catwalk and meet and greet. Since launching the label over 30 years ago, Paul Costelloe has grown to become one of Northern Ireland and the UK’s most recognisable design houses with a growing presence around the world.

He revealed, “I think the rebrand should make a great difference. And with exceptional value and the currency exchange rate, all is well.”

“I decided to open a shop in Northern Ireland due to my passion for the people. It also keeps me in touch with my contacts and network in Northern Ireland.

The Boulevard

The Boulevard

Asked to describe The Boulevard in three words, Paul responds, “Aspirational, Identity, Exceptional.”

Born in 1945, the 72-year old designer boasts royal connections, having met Prince William when he was still tiny. At that time, he used to regularly dress Princess Diana, who brought her son along to meet him. He remains a darling of the British establishment and designed the outfit Zara Phillips wore to 
William’s wedding to Kate Middleton.

He explains he got into the industry in response to his creative side, “When I was living in Paris and seeing the industry first-hand really sparked a passion. When I realised I wasn’t going to make it as a painter, fashion design seemed a logical choice”, Paul explains.

Asked how the Paul Costelloe brand maintains originality after so many years, Paul says, “Showing at London Fashion Week keeps the brand moving forward and pushing boundaries. Travelling to Italy on a regular basis is certainly a big source of inspiration.

The Boulevard

The Boulevard

“The designer I look up to most is Giorgio Armani. When I was living and working in Milan building my experience, Armani was always front of mind.

“Since opening my first store in Dublin in the 70s, being a fashion designer is much more difficult as manufacturing requires much higher minimums nowadays. 

“During my career, dressing Princess Diana was definitely a high point. A low was having to step away from manufacturing in Northern Ireland.”

Having shown at London Fashion Week, Paul reveals he expects trends next season to include “tailoring and tweed.”

“That will be very important as well as stretch, active materials for day. But my top fashion tips for summer and party wear is printed dresses with trainers. 

Meanwhile, with the Royal wedding coming up, what are Paul’s predictions on Meghan’s dress?

“Stylish, simple and not fussy”, he responds confidently.