On Sunday, September 28 The Crowned Brunch Series brought famed fashion designer Michael Costello to the Adolphus Hotel for “Deeper Than The Dress: An Intimate Conversation” and intimate doesn’t even began to describe The amazing Crowned Brunch experience. The Crowned Brunch is a new Houston based monthly series that focuses on women’s empowerment and bringing a variety of heavy hitters from many industries to Texas. The afternoon started out with guests and media mingling in the gorgeous French Room at the Adolphus Hotel. As fellow blogger friends Cynthia Smoot, Leah Frazier and Jasmine Crockett took their seats next to me, we sipped champagne and enjoyed the sounds of remixed Top 40 music, which set a perfect tone for the event. Classic french style meets Kim Kardashian on the dance floor. As Michael entered the room excited guests gave a standing ovation applauding his entrance, he was clearly humbled and even complimented a few women as he took his seat on stage. I was quickly blown away as Michael shared intimate stories of his childhood, his gypsy prearranged marriage, working with celebs like Beyonce, Lady Gaga, Britney Spears, The Kardashians, and Tamar Braxton. He was so candid, when asked which celebrities were the biggest divas and most difficult to work with he said ” Well Beyonce, Gaga, Kim those are the easy ones. Kim is amazing, for someone that is so busy you would think it would be days to get a reply from her, no! Kim always replies within seconds and is so easy to work with. I’ll tell you who the most difficult divas of them all are those damn housewives, they’re insane! Girl! These housewives think they are EVERYTHING. One in particular housewife would be Alexsis Bellino (From The Real housewives of Orange County). She is extra. I want this. I want that. I want the bells and whistles. I want to look like Beyonce, I want to look like Jlo, Robert Dinero, WHATEVER. Im just like Alexsis It’s a fabulous dress! C’mon! ” Growing up Michael didn’t live the easiest of lifestyles, feeling pressure to live a traditional gypsy lifestyle Michael lived a double life. Now as an open gay man he often expresed his love for his current boyfriend Jesse Castell and later in the day had us make a special video message for him. When Michael was a child he started feeling the urge to design as he would take a sock put it on a pencil and pretend it was a supermodel “I would play with this all day and my father would be like, ‘what’s wrong with him? What is he doing with a pencil and a sock?’ My mom would be like he’s creative! Then my brothers and sisters would be like….He’s gay”. Michael later shared a Crowned Brunch exclusive story about being scolded “Wire hanger style” for cutting up his fathers silk pants and later found ripped fabric on his family sofa and took advantage of an opportunity.”I’v never told this story but I saw piece of ripped fabric on our sofa. I knew that It was better than taking my fathers pants again so I began looking at the seams, studying how fabrics were put together, that was huge for me”. Michael burst into fame when he was featured on Lifetime’s hit franchise Project Runway season 8 and brought back for Project Runway All-Stars Season 1. Michael gave hilarious interpretations of Issac Mizrahi, Diane Von Furstenburg, and Heidi Klum while sharing stories from his Project Runway days “I’m three years out of my contract so I’m technically not breaching it so we get to talk all about it!”. What many people don’t know is that Michael was featured during the Project Runway presentation at New York Fashion Week in 2010. Even though he came in fourth place he still had the experience and life changing exposure of fashion week. “On Project Runway they have 10 decoy designers that still have to show at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week. Just because the show is airing and they don’t want people to know who the final 3 are. Decoys still get that $9,000 budget, which is really cool. It was incredible. It was Sept 8th, 2010. I’ll never forget the date. The next morning when I woke up, even though I was a decoy collection, I was the first designer to ever have the front cover of the New York Times, which was shocking “. This month Michael Costello was a headlining designer at his very first official New York Fashion Week, showing beautiful silhouetted gowns accessorized with beautiful gold crowns, it was a perfect representation of his esthetic and range. One of the highlights of the afternoon was when Michael was asked about his experience designing costumes for Beyoncé’s recent On The Run Tour “Designing for stage is a bit different but still a great time. I loved what we did with Beyonce on this tour. ” The Crowned Brunch emcee then dared Michael to show us a hidden talent and Michael suggested the Partition dance and in true Michael Costello fashion….He obliged! Michael quickly jumped on the chair, cleared the stage and……”Driver Roll Up The Partition Please”
After the Q&A session of The Crowned Brunch Presentation came Brunch. I had the filet mignon with potatoes, cheesy scrambled eggs, asparagus, and a light crusted tomato. Words do not describe how delicious this was, the steak was perfect and potatoes packed with flavor! It was the perfect dish that left me full yet not too heavy. Michael enjoyed brunch with guests and later took time to mingle, answer questions, take selfies and gabb about the delicious desserts that were prepared by Dallas diva Lo Michelle from SweetThangsByLo
After the event I got to sit down with Michael for a candid honest interview where he spoke about the future of Project Runway, working with celebrities that have now turned to great friends and whats next for the Michael Costello brand.MC: HI! I love your jacket, and your EYEBROWS! I wish I had eyebrows like that.
CC: Oh my gosh, thank you! I was teased for them growing up so I appreciate that….Caterpillar eyebrows is what they called me.
MC: (Michael makes a shocked face as photographed above) Oh my god! Well look at you now!
CC: So looking back on your career as it has exploded in the last few years and as you continue to take the fashion industry by storm, what has been your biggest “Is this real life?” moment?
MC: It was January 26th, at the Grammys when Beyoncé wore that white dress I designed on the red carpet. When that happened that was like a big slap in the face to even some of the producers of Project Runway and a lot of the people on that show. It was like for all those people who had a lot of negative energy that was my big eff you.
CC: Now that you have reached that level in your career, what your personal goals in the future?
MC: I think some my goals is just to become more sought after in the editorial world. If I had to sit back and think about it, I would love to have features in major publications whether it be Vogue or Harper Bazaar, Marie Claire. Iv had little pieces here and there but thats defiantly my next goal. I know iv crossed some stairs and gotten the attention of some of the people that I wanted to. I got a letter from the office of Anna Wintour & when we got that letter, we were shocked.
CC: Looking back on the whole Project Runway experience and then competing in All-Stars, what is something that was a misconception or something you didn’t think about when you went into the whole reality t.v. experience?
MC: I think the whole misconception of it is that people think that most of us just want to be on television and they don’t realize that Project Runway is something that can help launch a designers career. Some designers have been very successful at it, Christian Siriano being one of them. Its done wonders for his career. Unfortunately I don’t know if the show does that anymore for a designers career. I don’t think people understand what it is to be on a television show like Project Runway. The pressure that comes with it is hard but were all real designers and don’t just wanna be on T.V.
CC: Speaking of Reality T.V. you have worked with one of my favorite T.V. starlets Tamar Braxton, whom I’m obsessed with.
MC: Oh my god! Pieces?! (Referring to a song off her album Love & War) I love her.
CC: What’s it like working with someone thats got such an open heart but such a diva. Not necessarily in a bad way but over the top personality?
MC: I mean..Everything that you see on her show is real. She is 100% real. She’s like that in real life, downtime you name it. She’s great and she’s another artist who knows exactly what she wants she makes all of her own decisions. She has a great stylist that she works with but when we work together we always work directly with each other. She’s defiantly one of my favorites. It makes your job so much more enjoyable at the end of the day when you love that person or you can’t wait to work with them. She’s a pleasure.
In closing Michael and I took a photo, he told me that he enjoyed our interview and wished me the best. The feeling was obviously mutual as he is such a pleasure to work with. Michael was very down to earth, relatable and allowed me to ask anything! Big thanks to The Crowned Brunch for having me and to Michael Costello for being so kind and courteous. It was a great event and I definetly recommend The Crowned Brunch for a fabulous, friendly, & inspiring time!