DESTINED TO CREATE
A Spotlite on Designer VICTOR DE SOUZA
By Leandro Justen
Victor de Souza exudes confidence in what he considers to be his “destiny.” Becoming a fashion designer was not a dream, but a journey de Souza embraced in the very early stages of his formative years in his home country of Argentina. From designing dresses for his sister’s dolls to showing his collections in Paris, scoring a Vogue Italia cover, and dressing superstars like Lady Gaga, Rihanna, and fashion icons like Linda Evangelista and Daphne Guinness, de Souza has taken no shortcuts to be where he is now.
In this exclusive interview, de Souza talks about the time he worked as model, his influences, inspirations, and how he defines beauty.
Leandro Justen: Victor, what got you started in fashion design?
Victor de Souza: I feel this has always been my goal. It’s my destiny. When I was a kid I would steal my sister’s dolls and make clothes for them with fabrics I found in my grandmother’s closet.
LJ: Who has influenced you the most in your career?
VdS: My grandmother was a big influence. She was a lovely person, really stylish. I remember opening her wardrobe and seeing all her suits organized by color, all her heels, and gloves in every shade of color. I remember this beautiful Dior dress–the beautiful shoes. She loved to dress up.
LJ: I know that before you started your designing career you worked as a model, how was being in the fashion industry as a model?
VdS: It was really amazing because I didn’t have to do anything, except have a good body [laughs]. I would show up and they would do the make-up and hair. It was really the opposite of what I do as a designer because now I have to create everything. It’s a non-stop job figuring out how to make it all happen. But I really enjoyed working as a model because I was able to study fashion with the money I made modeling.
LJ: Did working as a model help you in your design career?
VdS: No–well, I had the opportunity to get into fashion and learn how the business work. But I didn’t realize what I was getting into because they are completely different things. As a model you don’t really see how much work it takes to style your collection, to do the photography of your clothes–the fashion show. You don’t realize how hard and intense it is until you do it–how much passion and dedication you need to have to produce a fashion show, a photo shoot.
LJ: You have shown your work internationally, including Paris, and are now based in New York City, where do you see yourself in the future?
VdS: New York City is home for me. When I go anywhere else and see New York from the plane, I kinda get emotional. I love New York. It’s my home. Here is where I can be myself.
LJ: Who is the woman that you design for? Who inspires you?
VdS: Style, you have it or not. If you don’t have it, there’s nothing I can do for you. If you have it, I could dress you and do something really amazing. I have my muses: I love dressing for Michelle Harper, Jean Shafiroff. Now I’m working with Yuta Powell, and she’s selling my clothes at her store, and I can see all these women that could really wear my clothes. It’s all very enchanting to me.
LJ: Your recent fashion show had futuristic elements from hair and make-up to every piece you designed, how do you describe your S/S 2012 collection?
VdS: People see futuristic. But I love the old fashion houses–Christian Dior, Schiaparelli, Cristobal Balenciaga, Poiret–they are all my idols. They were the people that delivered the dream and that inspired me more than anything. But I always try to take this inspiration to the future. I think that’s why people see my clothes with these futuristic elements.
The new collection is about cocoons and butterflies–I wanted to recreate these transformations. I love the 18th Century, I love the palaces, mansions of Versailles–for me it was like a mix of this cocoon, concept of dark and its transformation to something beautiful. In my Spring/Summer 2012 collection, I erased all the dark colors from my designs and used only pastels colors to show this transformation. It was really magical.
LJ: Lastly, since this is PMc Magazine‘s Beautiful Issue, I’m curious: what is beauty to you?
VdS: Beauty is a moment, beauty is a creation. It could be from a tree, an attitude in somebody. It could be the beautiful expression of their passion. Creating beauty is the fantasy in how you can work with the limits, the elements. For me beauty is balance–not too much in one side–not too classic, too simple, too obvious, nor is it too out there, a carnival. It’s how you put everything in between and work with somebody’s personality to create the magic.
Victor de Souza is an internationally acclaimed fashion designer.
Written by Leandro Justen
Photography by Leandro Justen
Design by Marie Havens
Victor de Souza, Photography by Leandro Justen