Fashion designer Michael Costello went public to claim that he was among the victims of Chrissy Teigen’s cyberbullying, alleging she called him “racist” and threatened to end his career. To this day, Costello said, he’s “traumatized, depressed and has thoughts of suicide.”
Following Costello’s claims, singer Leona Lewis took to Instagram to share a story about the designer that does not place him in the best light.
“I usually don’t speak on subjects like this. But honestly I feel that I have to say something as I’ve dealt with years of insecurity from it. I don’t condone any kind of bully behaviour and I’m sorry for what Michael Costello went through,” wrote the “Bleeding Love” singer. “I wanted to share my experience in 2014. I was asked to take part in a fashion show to raise money for charity. Michael Costello was assigned as my designer. As an excited young woman, I flew all the way to New York and was so honoured to work with him because I adored his dresses.”
However, when she arrived at the fitting she “was made to feel very awkward and uncomfortable as the dress was a sample size and he/his team clearly did not want to alter it to fit me.”
This, she explained, “came as a total surprise because weeks prior I was told that they would make the dress work for me. At the next fitting, the night before the show, with no explanation at all, Michael refused to turn up,” she claimed. “He no longer wanted to dress me and he abandoned his commitments to me and the show which made me well aware that I wasn’t the body type required.”
Lewis admitted she felt “so embarrassed and deeply hurt” by the experience, which was compounded by sitting in the audience and lying about why she wasn’t walking the runway.
“I’m not discounting Michael’s experience as that is an awful thing to go through and I wish him so much love and healing. I’m sure this will come as a shock as I never told him how this made me feel,” Lewis added. “But the pot calling the kettle black in this situation doesn’t sit right with me. Bullying comes in many different forms. We need love, we need accountability, we need forgiveness, none of us are perfect.”
Costello responded to Lewis’s posts, also via Instagram Story.
“No dis, no shade, no hate. I love you and your music I still follow you but not sure what happen,” Costello wrote alongside a screenshot of Lewis wearing a red gown. “I’ve reached out to you personally and have 7 emails from the last 4 years and these past 9 weeks from your team and stylist still requesting looks. Last email 05/17/21.”
Costello added that he’s a fan and is “not coming for you.”
Costello later issued a full statement to explain his version of events.
“I have always been a fan of Leona Lewis and she has always adored me. Her team has continuously requested for her to wear us from 2013 up until now,” his statement reads.
“In regards to The Heart Truth Red Dress Collection charity event she’s referring to on her Instagram stories I was very excited to be a part of it when her representative Jordan Bass asked us to participate. His request to dress Leona was sent on January 30, 2014. At the time I was in New York preparing for fashion week and my show day was scheduled for February 7, 2014. Coincidentally I had prepared to show a collection of red silhouettes so I thought it would be ideal to lend her one of my showpieces all for charity and then have it returned just in time for my show. The Heart Truth Red Dress Collection charity event was scheduled to be on February 6, 2014 so it would all work out perfectly. I would get the dress back just in time to showcase my collection on the 7th. Unfortunately none of the red options worked out for Leona. There was no way for me to make her an alternative option as I was, and still am, based in Los Angeles. If we had known about the event more than 7 days in advance, which is the timeframe we had, we could have made something custom for Leona without a doubt. There is no possible way that we told Leona or her team that we would make the dress work for her weeks in advance because we were asked to be a part of The Heart Truth Red Dress Collection charity event 7 days before the show and we still have the receipts,” the statement continues.
“It’s bizarre how her attitude towards me shifted as soon as I spoke my truth in regards to Chrissy Teigen and others trying to blacklist me. If she felt this way I wish she could have said something to me about this matter. It was nothing personal towards Leona. The plan simply did not work out the way we intended. I have always offered to make something custom and special just for her. I am always here for her,” he said, adding, “I have reached out to Leona on Instagram to have a conversation offline. I am waiting for her to respond.”