“I’ve worked in retail sales, as a buyer, in merchandising, advertising, and as a wholesaler. As such I think I can bring a studied viewpoint and a distinct opinion about all aspects of fashion that I know our readers will enjoy.”
25 years ago I met a handsome and well dressed young man named Anthony Costa. We were both living in Manhattan establishing ourselves as creatives. His passion for fashion at the time was incredible, while for me it was all about interior design. We became fast friends. And while I’ve never been a very fashionable guy wearing LL Bean and Levi’s, he has always been dressed to the 9’s. He joins our staff as Fashion Editor this week. We had a chat about his life and career. I’d like to share it with you.
Tell me about where you grew up, and your family.
I grew up in New York City in very close-knit family. I have 2 older sisters that I had lengthy conversations with at least 3 times a day. I saw my grandmother, my aunts, uncles, and cousins at least 5 nights a week for dinner. I was taught old world values – honesty and respect were the number one lessons taught to me by my father, that and being true to myself.
I was bullied all through grammar school, but I never let that define me. I knew that the minute I walked through my front door in the afternoon I would have all the love and respect that I needed from my family. I also knew that once that chapter of my life was finished there was a bigger and better world out there for me to discover.
When did you first realize you were interested in fashion?
I can’t say exactly. It was probably the moment I could speak and tell my mother what to dress me in!
When I was 11 yrs old I would take my parents Macy’s credit card to the Herald Square store with a letter from my mother giving me permission to shop. In those days that was the protocol. I would have a budget of course, but that never stopped me. I would always go over budget but I never worried. Having more clothes was way more important than the punishment to follow.
What was your first job in fashion?
My first job in fashion was at a clothing store in Brooklyn called Jimmy’s. It was a high-end European fashion staple in the city. Anyone and everyone in fashion knew the store. We had Azzedine Alaia, Gianfranco Ferre, and Gianni Versace just to name a few.
I started out a sales person when I was 20. By the time I was 22 I was going on buying trips. The best lesson for me in that experience was that it was a mom and pop store. We were buyers, we vacuumed, we shoveled snow… we were all hands on. It taught me the working values that helped me further my career in fashion. I wasn’t above doing anything that the owners wouldn’t do themselves, which is a priceless lesson for people to learn in the fashion business. Sales associates in stores today barely say 2 words to you after you’ve just purchased a $3000 jacket. I think that’s appalling.
You’ve lived in Europe, and experience fashion from a continental perspective, tell me about it.
Wow. Where do I start? Europeans have a wardrobe sensibility that’s very different from ours. Don’t get me wrong, I think Americans have incredible style – the difference is that Europeans don’t let advertising and cookie-cutter style define them. They’ll walk into a no-name store and buy something because they love the way it looks. It doesn’t have to have a multimillion dollar advertising campaign behind it to make them want them to buy.
Who are the designers you’re jazzed by this year?
This year there are quite a few outstanding designer collections. The houses that I love? Prabal Gurung for women was phenominal, but I loved Lanvin, Balenciaga, and Balmain. I also thought that Michael Kors and Tory Burch had new collections that were amazing.
What do you hope to convey to our readers as Fashion Editor?
I’ve developed an educated perspective over my 30 years of in the fashion business. I’ve worked in retail sales, as a buyer, in merchandising, advertising, and as a wholesaler. As such I think I can bring a studied viewpoint and a distinct opinion about all aspects of fashion that I know our readers will enjoy. I have a great sense of humor and I will try to incorporate that as well. (to which I can attest!)
We shared a mutual love of dogs, do you ever think of Dennis as a fashion accessory?
I’ve never thought of him as a fashion accessory. I think of him as my baby. I spoil him rotten. He travels with me everywhere I go. He is probably one of the best traveled pugs (with the exception of Valentino’s brood of course.) Dennis is quite the fashion plate himself, with a vast collection of designer collars and leashes. He’s more than an accessory, he’s my muse.
Anthony’s fashion dispatches will be published on Saturday mornings. He’ll be covering the runways, talking with legendary designers, and peering into their homes and offices. I, for one, can’t wait.