Michael Costello has offered an apology to singer Leona Lewis after she claimed she was once dropped from a fashion show due to her size.
Earlier this week, the US designer accused US model Chrissy Teigen of bullying and making him feel suicidal.
Lewis called Costello’s accusations “the pot calling the kettle black” and said she was left “embarrassed” by an encounter with him in 2014.
Costello said he had tried to contact Lewis and “wanted to apologise”.
But, he told the BBC, he would have been willing to make a custom dress for Lewis “without a doubt”, but he was not able to because he had only had seven days notice about the fashion show and was away from his Los Angeles base preparing for New York Fashion Week.
What did Leona Lewis say?
Lewis recounted an occasion in 2014 where, she claims, she was asked to fly to the US to wear one of Costello’s dresses, but said she was then dropped from a charity fashion show after the sample size dress did not fit her.
The 36-year-old said the encounter had left her feeling “embarrassed” and “deeply hurt”.
“Because I didn’t look like a model size, I was not permitted to walk in his dress,” she claimed. “I had to sit in the audience and was asked by press why I didn’t walk in the show. I remember having to come up with excuses as I was so humiliated by it all.”
She added: “I was left with deep insecurities after this and I’ve had to work hard over the years to love my body. I know that his designs are catered to women of all sizes now, and I’m glad he saw the light over the years.”
How did Michael Costello respond?
Costello posted a statement on his own Instagram story, saying he was “surprised” by the claims, inviting the former X Factor winner to speak more with him in private.
“I don’t take accusations of body shaming lightly,” he posted. “If I have hurt you in 2014… I want to apologise to you.”
He added: “All of this is very shocking for me to hear because you’ve continued to wear me, tag me, and asked for another dress even last month.”
Costello shared photos of Lewis wearing one of his designs and apparent correspondence from her team to his asking to be dressed by him again.
In a further statement to the BBC, the designer explained he had not been able to make an alternative dress for Lewis because he had only been given seven days notice about the fashion show.
He added the show was taking place in New York, during the same month he was preparing for Fashion Week, which meant he was away from his usual place of work.
“There was no way for me to make her an alternative option as I was, and still am, based in Los Angeles,” he said. “If we had known about the event more than seven days in advance, which is the timeframe we had, we could have made something custom for Leona without a doubt.”
How is Chrissy Teigen involved?
Teigen broke a month-long social media silence earlier in the week to apologise for bullying several people on social media in the past.
The US model issued a public apology for her previous online behaviour, promising to privately contact anyone she has wronged.
In a blog post, the US celebrity reflected on “the crushing weight of regret for the things I’ve said in the past”.
“There is simply no excuse for my past horrible tweets,” wrote Teigen, who is married to singer John Legend. “I was a troll, full stop. And I am so sorry.”
Costello came forward to say he was one of those who had been previously upset by Teigen’s behaviour, referring to a time where she allegedly left negative comments on his Instagram page and caused him to lose work.
He said he lost sleep and felt suicidal afterwards, and that his family had to keep “close watch” on him to prevent him from taking his own life.
In her own statement, Lewis said: “I am not discounting Michael’s experience as that is an awful thing to go through and I wish him so much love and healing.”
She also acknowledged Costello had likely not intended to hurt her at the 2014 fashion show. “I’m sorry if I’ve ever hurt anyone without knowing as I’m sure was the case with Michael,” she said.