The Stephens College School of Design has invited famed New York fashion designer Victor Costa to present a free public lecture on March 5 as part of The Jeannene Booher Fashion Lecture Series. Costa is known as the “king of the copycats” and has been called the “maestro copier” by Vogue magazine. As post-World War II American fashion hungered for Parisian style, Costa’s photographic memory and passionate love of fashion allowed him to translate what he saw on the European runway into affordable pieces for the U.S. market. His “copycat” ability made Costa into a multi-million-dollar business.

navy waist dress

The lecture will focus on the Costa design process and how his workroom created such copies and sold them to a hungry fashion market. With actual garments on hand for a “show-and-tell,” Costa will explain the design process and also address his many years in the fashion industry.

As a complement to the lecture event, the spring gallery showing by the Stephens College Costume Museum and Research Library will feature Costa’s designs. The exhibit, titled “Designing Dreams in Fashion,” will provide a unique opportunity to view some of the most exquisite couture and ready-to-wear Costa designs of the 1970s through the 1990s. The garments come from the archives of the CMRL with others on loan from Costa’s personal archives and from the Texas Fashion Collection at the University of North Texas, Denton. 

“It is a wonderful opportunity for the fashion program at Stephens College to be given the chance to create an extensive gallery show of Victor Costa ensembles,” said Dr. Monica McMurry, dean of the School of Design. “With Victor as our Jeannene Booher Fashion Lecture Series speaker, we are able to provide our students and the community with an engaging and immersive learning environment: both to hear from this successful designer about his design process and to see his actual work in the gallery. It has been such a pleasure to work with Victor on this showcase of his lifetime of achievement in the fashion industry.”

Costa will speak at 7 p.m. on March 5 in the Kimball Ballroom of Lela Raney Wood Hall, 6 N. College Ave. The lecture is free and open to the public. The gallery show, located in the Historic Costume Gallery on the mezzanine level of Lela Raney Wood Hall, will open Feb. 24 and run through May 6. Information on events and gallery hours can be found on

The Victor Costa lecture is sponsored by The Jeannene Booher Fashion Lecture Series, which launched in November 2016 with a $1 million gift from Booher, a 1956 alumna of the Stephens College fashion program. The lecture series was created to honor the influential mentoring Booher received while a fashion design student at Stephens.


Pictured: Navy knit jersey shirtwaist dress with dolman sleeve, rounded neckline, full gathered skirt, white beaded trim along neckline and down sleeve. Inspired by Mollie Parnis. c. 1980

Tags : School of Design, Fashion

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