Victor Costa is an odd bird, holding the inauspicious title and undignified nickname of “the copycat king” (ouch). Hattie Carnegie and Suzy Perrette, who he worked for used to go to Europe and copy the designs they saw particularly in Paris. It was the late 50's, so much of European fashion was not seen in the US. When magazines became more popular, and images of what was happening in Europe made its way here easier and closer to the trends, the ruse was up.
Still, Costa persevered and to be honest, ripping off other people or as they say in the business “being inspired by” others is a way of life. Trend forecasters make tons of money traveling and photographing the insides of hip shops. So, maybe he was just ahead of his time, or at least proof that things stay the same.
On the surface, he is not the kind of designer you would expect me to love – claiming it is almost tantamount to professing a love for Liz Claiborne. He was based in Dallas, he designs for “a mature woman” which means lots and lots of bad shouldered square jackets. A mother of the bride's wet dream in 1982, be also made the wedding dresses my sister and I would pour over as kids (Bride Magazine was a constant purchase on grocery trips with mom). Unfortunately he made the wedding gown poof ball creations that even at a young age we found too gross!
But once you get through all the junk, he is unexpectedly one of the designers I seek out the most on ebay– always wading through the Costa madness of decade old glamour gone wrong to find striking pieces. When you get a good one it's usually a little nutty, slightly off kilter and completely fabulous. I am trying to find a dress in time for my holiday office party and my first thoughts go to this local boy (he graduated from Pratt).