For people attending high profile events in New York and the Hamptons, dividing their time between the two, Victor dE Souza is a must-know style name. Use a VDS card at a charitable event or social gathering and green-eyed glances in your direction are guaranteed. Not many people can afford dE Souza gowns, but everyone dreams of owning one. Some famous personalities such as, another person known by her initials, SJP (Sarah Jessica Parker), incredible old-schoolers, Nicole Kidman and J Lo, and popular Lady Gaga and Rihanna are also in line for pieces by the Argentina-born and Paris-trained designer. In the exclusive interview for In Love magazine, Victor dE Souza reveals all his celebrity styling secrets and explains his approach to creating exceptional fashions.
Many people, especially those in New York, are following your persona at all the choicest events in the tri-state area. Nevertheless, could you please introduce yourself? Who is Victor dE Souza and what’s his story?
I’m a couture designer who has built a business out of dressing high-end women from the Upper East Side and across the globe. I work with each client individually and create gowns that fit their unique personality and style. Being a perfectionist, I design for my clients with only the most exquisite, admirable and finely detailed fabrics. For me, designing clothing is an important part of my life and something that I really love doing.
You work with clients not only in New York, but also in the Hamptons. Is there any difference style-wise between those two style hubs?
Usually, styles that I create for wearing in the Hamptons are less structured and the materials are lighter. However, it all really depends on the client’s silhouette and color preference and on what works the best for her body type. Most of my clients in the Hamptons and New York are the same people; they just spend part of the year in their residences out East. I’ve known their tastes for many years and make sure to pick the appropriate materials for the hot Hamptons weather. Also, most of the dresses I create are appropriate for both New York and the Hamptons; they’re timeless pieces that will last forever.
Who are some of the celebrities you’ve worked with? Is there a referral system amongst the red carpet regulars or style icons who follow your fashion shows?
It all depends; for example, when I worked with Madonna, her assistants sent me a personal email stating that she wanted me to fly my entire collection to LA for her video. I signed a non-disclosure agreement, packed my collection and sent it over. I mean, how could you possibly say ‘no’ to Madonna? She wore some of my pieces in her music video and, as always, looked spectacular!
How about Katy Perry? I’m obsessed with her ‘Killer Queen’ commercial where she wears your dress!
It was a very intriguing collaboration and I am very pleased with the final result. In the world of advertising, there is no room for mistakes. Usually, time is very limited, and that’s why producers prefer working with people they can trust. Considering that, I would have to say that a designer’s reputation is very important. I’ve worked with Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Nikki Minaj, and Jennifer Lopez, amongst others, on both creative and advertising campaigns. These women are incredibly inspiring and their talent definitely had an effect on my personal taste and intellectual growth.
There are so many designers these days. Why do you think people opt for couture?
People are looking for the exclusive pieces. You don’t want to spend money on a designer piece, come to the event, and meet four more women wearing the exact same piece. It’s like putting $12,000 in the garbage, because a dress like that is not special. Also, showing up at an event wearing identical dresses creates an inconvenient situation, with a person unconsciously trying to stay on the other side of the room from her “clone” so they are not caught in pictures looking like twins. All of those inconveniences can be easily avoided if you are ordering a couture dress, a one-in-a-million piece designed specifically for you.
While working on each specific dress, I am not only working on delivering the best quality for my clients, but also making sure that my pieces do not come close to anyone else’s designs. In the world of couture, the more different and unique the dress is, the better.
Where do you find all your ideas and inspirations? Each of your couture hats delivers an individual story. How do you come out with these things?
That is a mystery, the way these ideas come to me. Perhaps it’s a mix of my natural creativity with the understanding of who my clients are. It’s especially relevant when it comes to my hats. These designs match fantasies with personalities and allow me to bring each piece the forgotten art of sewing craftsmanship. Everyone knows that if you are wearing a hat by Victor dE Souza, no other hat in the world will look the exact same way.
How long does it take to create a couture dress?
Most gowns take about 100 hours from start to finish. It might sound like a long time, but keep in mind that I have to adjust the corset to make it tight on the waist, select the perfect fabric and then work on all the small details that make the dress unique. I have a team of people working on each dress to make sure everything is perfect.
How did your designer career begin?
I started at 15 when I accompanied my mother and two sisters during their sewing classes… and then at 17 I was discovered as a model. I started modeling in Argentina, and then the agency flew me to France and then Italy. The universe put me in that weird position where all of those people wanted to hire me and I was not completely aware of how the fashion world worked. However, I decided to give it a shot and the rest is history.
Tell us about your collection presented at New York Fashion Week. Was it difficult for you to transition from couture to ready-to-wear?
It was a very interesting and exciting experience to open up a world of custom-made dresses to women who cannot afford couture. The ready-to-wear collection from Spring/Summer 2016 will be available for purchase online at www.victordesouzany.com.
Victor dE Souza was born into a Portuguese family in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He was first introduced to fashion through his grandmother’s closet, which was filled with designers such as, Christian Dior, Balenciaga, Chanel and Schiaparelli. Seduced by tapered silhouettes, brilliant colors and rich fabrics, dE Souza knew at an early age that design was his calling. dE Souza has designed for top tier celebrities including, Madonna, Lady Gaga, Daphne Guinness, Cindy Lauper, Rihanna, Katy Perry, Mary J. Blige, Jennifer Lopez, Jessica Biel, Cynthia Nixon, Christina Ricci, Lupita Nyong’o, Dakota Johnson, Alicia Keys, Kelis and more. De Souza designs have been published in Top Tier Publications Including, vogue Italia, ELLE Argentina, Vogue Paris, WWD, Vogue Korea, Huffington Post, Surface, Vogue Espanol, Untitled, The New York Post, Schon!, Citizen K, Numero and more.
Additional information can be found at www.victordesouzany.com
Photos by Vital Agibalow, www.vitalphoto.com