WRITTEN BY Blair Farris
Recently I sat down with Victoria Cullinan Strayhorn to learn more about her eponymous line of clothing. Victoria, who grew up in Charlotte, went to Savannah College of Art and Design to study fashion design and fibers and textiles. She loved the design process of the clothes and the textiles. Once in New York she worked for Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren and Rebecca Taylor. Deciding it was time to start her own line, she moved back to Charlotte to design the Victoria Cullinan collection.
She started with custom pieces—designing gowns for mothers of the bride and debutantes. While continuing to create custom pieces, she also began working on her first line. The line is inspired by “Kintsuji,” the Japanese art form of repairing broken pottery with lacquer-dusted gold, silver or platinum. The pieces, which reflect this art with asymmetry, angles and exaggerated lines, are pulled together in one beautiful garment that is a work of art in itself. Victoria’s attention to detail is amazing. She crushes the velvet herself, and when she can’t find the right pattern on a fabric she hand paints it.
Victoria searches for the most beautiful and luxurious fabrics, usually sourcing them in New York. One of the long coats in her line—made of mink and cashmere—was the softest I have ever touched.
She loves designing for women, wanting them to feel beautiful and feminine in her special line. Victoria feels it is an art form to create elegant things. The ripple effect of making a positive impact can come from fashion.
Recently Victoria was one of 16 selected from a pool of 600 applicants as an emerging designer from across the nation. This designation enabled her to launch her line this spring at Charleston Fashion Week. Again, Victoria managed the whole process, from picking the models to adding the tiniest stitches to ensure that the sumptuous clothes fit just right.
Victoria’s line is incredible, and she is definitely one to watch as she grows her beautiful, elegant brand.