Victor Costa

Victor Costa (born December 17, 1935) is an American fashion designer. Dubbed the "King of Copycats," he attained international fame in the mid-1970s for mimicking high-end European styles, tailoring them to his American audiences for affordable prices.

Victor Costa
Born(1935-12-17)17 December 1935
ResidenceHouston, Texas, U.S.
EducationPratt Institute
University of Houston
École d'Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture
Victor Costa Bridal, Victor Costa, Victor Costa Collection
(m. 1958; div. 1986)

Jerri Ann (m. 2015)
ChildrenKevin and Adrienne

In 1987, the New York Times reported that, along with Christian Lacroix and Arnold Scaasi, Costa "is widely recognized... as a significant contributor to the current vogue for flamboyant, super-feminine dresses that bare the shoulders, hug the waistline and billow and swirl over the hips." He founded Victor Costa, Inc. and later Victor Costa Bridal, and designed for several large retail outlets well into the 1990s. At one time, he was delivering merchandise to five different markets a year.

Costa is known for his extensive list of loyal customers, including Betsy Bloomingdale, Brooke Shields and Ivana Trump; he has also designed for First Ladies Lady Bird Johnson and Rosalynn Carter, as well as President Richard Nixon's daughters, Tricia Nixon Cox and Julie Nixon Eisenhower.

Early life

Costa was born in Houston's Fifth Ward, the second of three children. His father was a metal worker from Sicily. His family lived in three rooms behind his grandparents' grocery store. As a young boy, he developed a love for the fashions of Hollywood celebrities and began designing his own paper dolls and selling them to his classmates for two cents each.[1] As a teenager, he designed prom dresses for his high school classmates.[2] He went on to attend the Pratt Institute in New York and later University of Houston, where he studied fashion; he traveled to Paris to attend the École d'Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture, an institute operated by the Chambre Syndicale, the fashion trade association in Paris.


Returning from Paris, Costa began selling his fashion sketches to designers and merchandizers including Oleg Cassini and Ceil Chapman.[2]

He soon went to work at Suzy Perette, a dress house, from where he developed a technique to visually capture the basic essence of popular European designs and styles.

He moved to Dallas and bought the Ann Murray company, a fashion house, from where he began manufacturing his designs in a 50,000 square foot facility. His company sold $1 million in product during its first year of operation.[2] Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus became his top customers; by 1987, he was selling them $3.6 million and $3 million worth of product, respectfully, every year. He also sold more than $1 million annually to Nordstrom's, Bergdorf Goodman, and Marshall Field.[2] By 1988, his company was grossing $50 million annually.[1]

In 2000, he introduced the Victor Costa Occasion Collection on QVC, where it attained $500,000 in sales. By 2008, that number had grown to more than $10 million.[3]

He is a member of the Council of Fashion Designers of America.[3]

Personal life

Costa married his high school sweetheart, Terry, in 1958 while studying in Paris. They had two children together, Kevin and Adrienne, and divorced after 28 years of marriage in 1986.[1]

See also


  1. Bonnie Johnson and Lee Powell (August 22, 1988). "Copycat King Victor Costa Cuts the High Costa Designer Duds". People. Retrieved August 16, 2018.
  2. Morris, Bernadine (December 29, 1987). "A Cost-Cutting Designer Who's Riding a Wave". The New York Times. Retrieved August 16, 2018.
  3. "Victor Costa". Council of Fashion Designers of America. Retrieved August 16, 2018.
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