Brand Ambassador, Valentino; Jewelry Designer. New York
Okay, so bright, airy Midtown apartment filled with colorful necklaces and exotic tchotchkes and art accumulated from travels all over the world might not immediately what comes to mind when you think of Valentino's left-hand man (the right hand being Giancarlo Giammetti, duh), the one-time editor who discovered Steven Meisel. But that's more or less exactly what we were welcomed by upon walking into Carlos Souza's Manhattan apartment smack dab in the middle of New York Fashion Week. Straight up: while we swear we don't usually play favorites, we're backed up in a major way when we say that Souza might just be the most charming, fiercely charismatic men in fashion. Allow us to demonstrate: after meeting Valentino in the early 1970s while out for a night on the town in Souza's native Brazil (don't all fashion fairytales start that way?), it was a few years later, after being hand-picked by Andy Warhol (more on that later) for a centrefold, that he nabbed sweet gigs with everyone from Nissan to Issey Miyake. After cementing himself as an editor over at Harper's Bazaar (where that whole aforementioned first-person-on-the-Steven-Meisel-train thing went down), Souza went back to where it all began, overseeing PR and image direction for Valentino. That sweeping black and white gown Julia Roberts wore while accepting her Oscar? All him. Cate Blanchett's 2007 Oscar win? Yup, samesies. After a brief hiatus travelling the world at the urging of his two sons, Sean and Anthony (who are making it big themselves as DJs playing for the likes of Madonna, natch), Souza is back at his post at the storied fashion house and better than, well, ever. Oh, and he also has a few tricks up his well-cuffed, Valentino sleeve: his own jewelry line, Most Wanted Design (it all started at a New Year's Eve party on Valentino's yacht with Claudia Schiffer in tow...) and his own Instagram-ready (meta, right?) book, #Carlos'sPlaces. Hey, Assouline, have you scrolled through our Instagram feed lately? Carlos Souza will be signing his new book at the Assouline store at the Plaza Hotel in New York on October 9th, 6-8 PM. Drop by for a selfie!