There seems to be no stopping Perth's sartorial stalwart Aurelio Costarella.
While some of his industry peers have shut shop in recent months amid retail decline, the revered North Perth-based designer to the stars and discerning fashionistas is forging ahead on all fronts.
Fresh from showing at Melbourne Spring Fashion Week, Costarella - who will celebrate 30 years in the business with a retrospective exhibition at the WA Museum in November and an accompanying coffee-table book release - has collaborated with the CBD's stylish new Spanish-inspired venue Bar de Halcyon in Wolf Lane, bringing his signature sophisticated edge to the floor staff's uniforms.
While it's not the first time the coveted cloth king has spread his wings into other realms - West Australian Ballet and Black Swan State Theatre Company are among his costuming conquests - the partnership with Bar de Halcyon's owners and long-time friends David Heaton and Linda Fry (Metropolis Fremantle, Capitol) marks his first foray into the food frontier.
"I love that WA has evolved so much in the last few years in terms of small bars. It's becoming really vibrant, so having some involvement in that was the primary reason for me wanting to do it," Costarella said.
"Given the (bar's) environment is a very modern execution of a Spanish pintxos theme, we wanted the uniforms to have a European flavour, so we've gone for the earthier tones but still kept them quite contemporary in their feel. And they obviously needed to be functional."
When Bar de Halcyon opens for trade tonight, Costarella will be in Melbourne to sell his winter collection before jetting off to Dallas to potentially secure a distribution deal in the US market, and then head to the Big Apple to show his spring-summer collection as part of New York Fashion Week.
After a five-year absence due to the global financial crisis, it will mark the local label's long-awaited return to the American fashion scene. The rapid rise of Asia is also firmly on Costarella's international radar, with up to five stints a year spent in his Hong Kong office.
"China now makes up 60 per cent of consumption of luxury goods, so it's really the obvious market for us," he said.
"To put that into perspective, Australia makes up one per cent of the global market, so it's a no-brainer in terms of where one needs to be putting their energies. "
Regularly dressing a raft of star glamazons from Rihanna to Dita Von Teese (Dannii Minogue * sported an edgy tux shirt, skirt and leather corset ensemble last week on Seven ratings smash The X Factor), AAA was curious to learn who topped Costarella's celebrity wish list.
"There are celebrities I have already dressed who I would love to work with again - Cate Blanchett and Rihanna are obvious ones - but beyond that, I'd love to work with Rooney Mara (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) who has a great quirky sense of style, and Natalie Portman, just because she's so exquisite," he revealed.
"I tend to like celebrities who have very much an identity in terms of their own style and there are a lot of celebrities that we have declined to work with over the years just because they're not the right brand fit for us."So you need to be mindful of that when choosing who to work with."