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Michael Costello - Runway - September 2018 - New York Fashion Week: The Shows

Frazer Harrison

Twenty-one-year-old model, Shereen Wu, has accused former Project Runway designer Michael Costello of using artificial intelligence – or of allowing a photographer to use it – to edit her face on the runway. The alleged modification didn’t seem just to change Wu’s features but also her ethnicity and race.

MUST SEE: Raise Your Hands If You’ve Been Personally Victimized By Michael Costello

Wu has gone viral by exposing alleged communication with the designer after she questioned his motives. But Costello disputes her claim – and has broken his silence on Instagram. According to Costello, no videos of the model were edited by his team. He also writes that he reached out to Wu several times regarding her participation in his “farewell” fashion show but was “left on read.”

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Who is Michael Costello?

Michael Costello is a 40-year-old designer from California. He rose to popularity in 2010 when featured on Project Runway Season 8. He also appeared on the spin-off show Project Runway All Stars.

Costello has been known for his feminine designs. While the public officially met the designer through reality TV, he owned a custom clothing store since the age of 15 and reportedly dressed celebrities such as Toni Braxton, Celine Dion, and Jennifer Lopez. 

56th Annual GRAMMY Awards - Press Room

Source: Dan MacMedan / Getty

Queen Beyonce gave Costello her stamp of approval in 2014, rocking a white lace gown to the Grammy’s. Recalling working with the Renaissance mogul, Costello told InStyle that he pulled out his “secret stash” after speaking to Ty Hunter about the direction for the look.

Costello also made headlines in 2019 after working with Cardi B on an instant Paris Fashion Week ensemble that went viral as soon as she wore it. His custom blue and multicolored peacock-inspired dress and wide-brimmed hat are still discussed (and honestly copied on many fast fashion sites).

Michael Costello responds to Michelle Wu’s allegations on social media

While Costello is known for his aesthetic and elegant designs, his negative headlines are just as widespread. Some could argue his industry reputation has been hanging like a thread.

In 2021, the designer found himself in the middle of multiple controversies such as alleged bullying from  Chrissy Teigen, separate sexual abuse claims, body shaming claims from Leona Lewis and former Real Housewives of Atlanta star Falynn Guobadia, and his own reports of “suicidal thoughts.”

In other words, Wu’s recent controversy is one of others.

Wu walked in Costello’s October 22 Los Angeles Fashion Week show. She was one of a surprisingly diverse set of runway models, including Black, White, plus size, and Asian.

Los Angeles Fashion Week Powered by Art Hearts Fashion - Day 4

Source: Mark Gunter / Getty

According to Wu, Costello posted edited visuals of her in his stories following the show. She alleges that her face was seemingly changed from Asian to “Anglo-Saxon.” 

Costello denies Wu’s allegations. On November 2, he took to Instagram with his side of the story. In multiple slides, he explains how Wu was cast, discusses discrepancies in payments, and addresses questions about her photos and videos. 

See Costello’s post below.



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Did Project Runway Alum Michael Costello Use AI To Make A Model White?  was originally published on