This week’s style diary guest is American designer Victor dE Souza. Born into a Portuguese family in Buenos Aires and now living in New York, the designer loves to dress women—Alicia Keys, Mary J. Blige, Nicole Kidman, Jennifer Lopez, Sarah Jessica Parker, or even Lady Gaga and Rihanna are all women who have worn his couture.
Sibylle Eschapasse: Describe your style? If a close friend were to describe your personality in three words, what would they be?
Victor dE Souza: I would say my style is fashion forward always a bit ahead of the trend with elements of newness and a core of classic elegance.
I have been described as insightful, humorous, and stylish. These are the same three qualities that my closest friends agree on.
Ms. Eschapasse: How has your style evolve since you were a teenager? What is the wildest thing you ever wore?
Mr. dE Souza: Ironically my style as a teenager is relevant now. I find that I am using some of the elements that I was using in those days.
The wildest thing I have worn to date was a Donatella Versace costume that I wore for Heidi Klum’s annual Halloween party. This was wild for me because all aspects of this costume were not my style and extremely uncomfortable.
Ms. Eschapasse: How do you dress on workdays versus weekends?
Mr. dE Souza: My lifestyle doesn’t differentiate between weekdays and weekends. When I am working in my studio, I tend to be a bit more casual wearing denim and knits. I have another facet to my dressing, and that is events. In these settings I wear anything from a full tuxedo to current styles that I perceive as “the look of the moment.”
Ms. Eschapasse: What are three accessories you can’t live without, and what’s one item that makes you instantly more confident?
Mr. dE Souza: Hats, designer shoes, a great men’s bag.
A great new piece of clothing that I can’t wait to wear; I get excited and even look for an occasion to wear something new that I absolutely adore—this gives instant confidence.
Ms. Eschapasse: Who have been your greatest fashion influences? Who is your style icon?
Mr. dE Souza: My first influence was my grandmother; she was a couture collector and exposed me to style and very rigid standards of quality and construction. As a child, music, magazines, and all of the style content from editorials to videos and wanting to be involved in that world really drove the inspiration to design.
I would say one of my style icons is Elsa Schiaparelli. The reason being is that she was very strong and stayed true to her designs even if it was uncomfortable. Her styles in her time were some of the most imaginative and constructionally almost impossible, and her clients would be on the cutting edge of fashion without even realizing it.
Ms. Eschapasse: What does having style mean to you? In other words, please define style.
Mr. dE Souza: To me style is first sensibility, the sensibility to stay current and relevant to the time. Secondly it is also personal, being someone who knows instinctively what to wear and how to put it together. Third is risk, one who will take a risk with style at the right time and appropriate place.
Ms. Eschapasse: What is one purchase you’re most proud of? What would you pay a lot of money for, and what would you never pay much money for?
Mr. dE Souza: The purchase I’m most proud of is my very first sewing machine. I still have it and that was the day I decided to start my own brand.
I will always pay top dollar for a quality and well constructed garment. I would never pay to go a night club.
Ms. Eschapasse: When you go on the red carpet, how do you want your outfit to make you feel? Which designers can achieve that?
Mr. dE Souza: On the red carpet, I want to feel radiant, fashion forward, and elegant; these are the three qualities that I also instill in my clients.
First and foremost, myself—Victor dE Souza, as well as Thom Browne, Valentino, Fendi, Givenchy, and Saint Laurent.
Ms. Eschapasse: What do you think of how others dress and what’s your advice to people who would like to develop their personal style?
Mr. dE Souza: I think that we are in an exciting time of fashion renewal. While some people are experimenting, there are others who seem to be caught up in successful looks they had in the past.
My biggest advice to help develop personal style is to not get trapped in one look or the past. Move forward and keep up with current styles and trends, and maybe even help create some of the new trends.
Favorite color: Heather grey
Favorite perfume: Creed; Love In White
Favorite restaurant in NY: Buenos Aires on the Lower East Side
Favorite drink: Zevia
Favorite movie: “The Hunger”
Favorite book: “The Monster Is Real”
Favorite quote: “Rebirth can happen at any moment we choose to let go of our past.” —Karen Berg
Sibylle’s Style Diary explores style from the perspective of choices, and what that means for different people, with personal advice from some of the most stylish people in New York.
Sibylle Eschapasse is from Paris and now lives in Manhattan. She is a journalist and a contributing writer to various publications. Sibylle is also the author of a children’s book, “Argy Boy!: a New York Dog Tale.” She may be reached at Sibylle.Eschapasse@gmail.com