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Capitalising on High Fashion

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Monday 13th November 2006

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A fashion designer to celebrities takes his products to the United States, and brings New Zealand and Australian investors along.

Costarella Design Ltd announced earlier this month the opening of its AU$3,250,000 IPO to New Zealand and Australian investors and an expected listing on the Australian Stock Exchange in December.

Aurelio Costarella has been building a reputation as one of Australia's best-regarded fashion designers with an almost cult following amongst US and Australian celebrities, not unlike that of Karen Walker and Trelise Cooper here in New Zealand. His US$5,000 couture gowns are worn by A-list international actresses. Jessica Alba, Joss Stone, Teri Hatcher, Annette Bening, Le Ann Rimes and Sandra Bullock have selected from the Aurelio Costarella collection. The actresss Melissa George of the "Derailed", "Allias", "Mullholland Drive" and "Thieves" fame is featured on the cover of the company's Australian prospectus wearing Costarella's "Edwardian Top" and is quoted in the prospectus as saying "I can't think of another Australian designer that has reinvented himself like Aurelio Costarella, 21 years and more and better every year. He is world class." Unusually for most independent designers, dozens of high-end boutique stores in the United States, New Zealand (Maggie Potter in Auckland, Aria and Lynn Woods Studio in Christchurch and Victoire in Wellington), Italy, Kuwait, Hong Kong, Indonesia and Brunei carry Costarella's exquisite garments.

Yet this is only the beginning says Aurelio Costarella while completing the preparations for the opening of the company's first proprietary store "The Post" in Perth, Western Australia. "We have almost reached the limit of what can be done without a decent capital injection. We are well-positioned to break into the US, Asia and Europe in a big way, and the listing and the IPO will help us do this."

Indeed, Europe, the US and Australia have proven very receiptive to Aurelio's unique fashion handwriting. Marion Hume, a respected international fashion commentator, calling the Company's Spring - Summer Collection 2005 - 2006 presented at Mercedes Australian Fashion Week, the show of the week. Costarella's entire 2005/2006 couture collection has been purchased by the prestigious Melbourne and Sydney Belinda stores run by Belinda Seper, an iconic figure of the Australian fashion industry. Gio Moretti, the high-end Italian retailer on Via della Spiga in Milan, showcased the Aurelio Costarella Couture collection in its windows during the September 2006 Milan Fashion Week. The company's newly appointed US PR firm Couch Nobelius has recently organized a red carpet event attended by about 70 celebrities, the key "taste-makers" as they refer to them in the industry, for Costarella in Los Angeles.

Costarella is treading the path blazed by companies like the Italian Gucci, the US Ralph Loren and the German Dolce & Gabana, who capitalized on their industry recognition at the right time, got listed, getting development capital in the process, and have since developed into huge organizations with thousands of product lines, both on their original apparel turf and in other product lines. The company's stage of development could probably be compared to '42Below', a hip small company at the time of its listing about three years ago.

Says Patti Chong, Costarella's independent chairperson, "The purpose of the offer is to provide funds for Costarella Design to accelerate the launch of its idiosyncratic branding into the international fashion market, particularly in the US, Europe and Asia where it has recently increased its exposure through showings in Los Angeles, New York and Milan".

Costarella's Offer is expected to close on 6 December 2006. In New Zealand it is supported by MoneyOnline Limited, who can be contacted for copies of the New Zealand Investment Statement and the Australian Prospectus at Level 2, Dorchester House, 142 Broadway, Newmarket, Auckland, on 0800 373 800, or at costarella@moneyonline.co.nz.

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