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story by Landon Peoples
photos by Stephen Bodi
web editor Rachel Reneé
Victor de Souza’s Fall 2012 collection brought valor and drama his past collections lacked. Previously, we’ve seen Mr. de Souza play with lighter fantasies of ballet and romance, but this season, he pulled out all the stops. With floral ball gowns and Victorian maxi skirts, de Souza drew inspiration from Spain (an apparent recurring theme in New York this season), and further carried out that motif via matador tassels, ultra-tailoring, taffeta rosettes, and arm-length leather gloves. “I wanted to go back to the roots of fashion, when it was dedicated and sophisticated, but with a twist. I let the masters of Haute Couture… Dior, Givenchy, Balenciaga… speak to me,” de Souza said.
The hair, inspired by heiress and muse Daphne Guiness, added campy undertones, but it was the styling of garments that made de Souza’s signature youth and playfulness shine through. De Souza was more concerned with his audience’s perception of this collection, and built up from there. The designer found his onlooker’s thoughts to be “more interesting than what I think”. And when critics claimed his lineup shifted from Spain with conquistador-type embellishments to Japanese cherry blossom prints on silk taffeta, Souza responded, “that’s what they see. For me, when I think of Spain, I see a multitude of flowers. When I saw it, the rich colors and hand-painted fabric stood out and said ‘Spain’ to me.”
Closing the collection was perhaps the most show-stopping piece of all. Atop black kitten heels, a silk burgundy, hooked hourglass gown with a larger-than-life draped cape turned the corner. Those in the front row could be seen wide-eyed with their jaws agape. And buyers, which de Souza himself will attest to, are sure to snatch the dress for stores in no time.
Victor de Souza’s Fall 2012 collection surpassed standards he had set for himself in the past, emphasizing his growth as a young designer and validating himself as one of modaCYCLE’s previous “Designers to Watch.” De Souza will no doubt continue to create clothing that not only makes people vie to wear, but also pushes them to dress outside of their normal wardrobe paradigm.