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Stello, formerly MT Costello, mines the darker side of Hollywood in L.A. Fashion Week debut

Stello, formerly MT Costello, mines the darker side of Hollywood in L.A. Fashion Week debut
Looks from Stello's spring and summer 2016 "Hotel California" runway collection, which kicked off with a performance by Malina Moye, left. (Jeff Linett)

A gown-clad guitarist jamming Hendrixesque, a Donald Trump hat cameo and a bumper crop of barely covered bosoms sound like a recipe for late-night television, but it actually was the closing show of day three of Arts Hearts Fashion's lineup at the Taglyan Complex in Hollywood.

The label was Stello, Los Angeles-based Michael Costello's re-branded MT Costello ready-to-wear line, now helmed by his cousin, Stephanie (PR reps tell us the designer has shifted his concentration to his made-to-order namesake collection), and the time slot was certainly late-night appropriate — the first look didn't hit the runway until well past 11:15 p.m. That was just after things kicked off with a fierce performance of "The Star-Spangled Banner" by Malina Moye on a crystal-spangled electric guitar, who, at one point, impressively managed to incorporate the hem of the body-hugging gown she was wearing into her fret work.

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FOR THE RECORD

Oct. 10, 5:09 p.m.: An earlier version of this post referred to Stephanie Costello as the wife of Michael Costello. She is his cousin.

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The spring and summer 2016 "Hotel California" collection that followed was described in the show notes as an effort to "shin[e] a light on Hollywood's darker side," and serve as "an artistic representation of the inner turmoil gifted to Hollywood's elite." And if that means laying one's self bare while fully clothed, then consider the collection a rousing success, as it included a slew of body-baring looks, some requiring the strategic deployment of below-the-beltline modesty patches and others necessitating qualifiers for the many and varied versions of side-boob (anterior, proximal, distal).

Other looks seemed to riff on the nature of celebrity itself. One model hit the catwalk carrying a Chihuahua in a way that felt positively Paris Hiltonian. Another wore an above-the-knee skirt in red fish-scale lace, a gold metallic bra top and the kind of red "Make America Great Again" trucker cap recently popularized by Donald Trump – and enthusiastically tossed the hat into the photographer's pit as she hit the end of the runway.

But focusing on the gimmicky (and oh so Instagrammable) garments alone would be doing Stello a serious disservice; a lot of beautiful — and wearable — pieces also came down the catwalk, many in the body-conscious silhouettes and sporting the fishtail hems with which fans of the former MT Costello line might be familiar.

Standout pieces included the handful of form-fitting gold-and-black geometric dresses (some with side cutouts), peach-colored, paillette-covered gowns with sheer side panels and canyon-deep décolletage, and halter dresses in glistening green silk with jewel-like insets at each hip.

For the latest in fashion and style news, follow me @ARTschorn

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