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The Advocates: Haute Bears

Costello Tagliapietra's fall collection is sheer feminine glamour. Its plaid-clad creators are anything but.

Jeffrey Costello and Robert Tagliapietra make quite a statement when they step out for a bow at the end of their women's runway shows. Stylish partners in both love and work, the designers exemplify bear chic: Think bushy beards with perfectly worn-in denim and butch leather boots. Costello, who began his career designing costumes for music videos and performances for luminaries such as Madonna and Depeche Mode, met Tagliapietra in 1994 on the set of Madonna's "Bedtime Story" video. The two launched their namesake line in 2005 and have been an industry hit since. For fall Costello Tagliapietra served up a confidently elegant, chic, and urbane collection of dresses and separates in jersey fabric styled in homage to the great photographer Irving Penn. The design duo's fall collection is available at high-end retailers like Barneys New York.

Ring Leaders
If you're in the market for wedding bands, think outside the Tiffany blue box. Independent jewelry designers popular with the gay and lesbian market can offer an original alternative. "I've made rings for quite a few gays, many of them friends, though I've had plenty of orders from people whom I've never met," says Philip Crangi, who won a Council of Fashion Designers of America award last year for accessory design. "So far there has been little difference between the jewelry that gays and straights choose. The trend tends to follow a traditional line." However, Crangi says he "would like to see a different wedding tradition for gay culture, especially when it comes to jewelry," suggesting commitment bracelets and pendants as possible alternatives. If you're in New York, stop by Crangi's new shop in the Meatpacking District -- whether or not you're engaged.
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Alex Galan