Victor Victoria

Katy Conover

Designer Biography

DOI: 10.5040/9781474260428-FPA053

Victor Victoria is the creation of husband-and-wife team, Giovanni and Paola Gamba, and was founded in the late 1980s. A ready-to-wear label, it is “aimed at the cultured and open-minded set,” as described by founder Paola Gamba, by mixing masculine and feminine elements. Their influence is noted whenever masculine elements find their way into women’s wear collections. Victor Victoria is best known for its classic shapes and an adherence to producing high-end basics in light pastels and contrasting black and white.

The Gambas began designing shirts for L’Equipe in 1972, but by 1989 they had decided to expand their collection business into the Victor Victoria line, which includes both men’s and women’s lines. A truly family affair, their son, Giovanni Battista, became vice president of the company and instrumental in driving the company’s U.S. distribution. He was then kept on as chief of Sartorie Riunite, founded by Paola Gamba in 1988, the company that produces the Victor Victoria lines. In 1992, his brother Giambattista Gamba joined the company as director after finishing his degree at the University of California, Berkeley.

In 2000, Sartorie Riunite was sold to SINV SpA (which also holds licenses for production for R.e.d. Valentino, Moschino, and DKNY Jeans), but Paola was retained as design director, aided by her son Giambattista. At this time, the brand was carried in 150 stores in Italy while also exporting 40 percent of its product. The year 2002 saw Victor Victoria’s participation in the international menswear event Pitti Immagine Uomo, with the development of Victor Victoria Uomo. Victor Victoria was sold to Ca’ da Mosto in 2005.

In 2007, Albino D’Amato, former assistant of Giambattista Valli from Emanuel Ungaro, was brought in as head designer to revive the brand, which had fallen into the “vintage” category of fashion. D’Amato chose to stay true to Victor Victoria’s iconic color palette while branching out into new designs.

Victor Victoria, Fall/Winter 2000 Photograph by Niall McInerney, Fashion Photography Archive

References and Further Reading

Find in Library D’Aulnay Sophie. ““Sharp Buyers, Sharp Fashion, Sharp Competitors: In Asia, Stores Are Cutting-Edge Because the Competition Is Cutthroat (Asian Clothing Retailers)”.” Daily News Record , 24 June 1996. .

Find in Library Ilari Alessandra. ““SINV Buys Sartorie Riunite”.” Women’s Wear Daily , 12 January 2000 .

Find in Library Martinenghi Silvia. “Victor Victoria.” In Fashion Dictionary , edited by Guido Vergani , p.1303. New York : Baldini Castoldi Dalai editore, 2006 .

Find in Library Schelter Kristin. ““The Victorious Victor Victoria”.” Daily News Record , 2 January 1995. .

Find in Library Zargani Luisa. ““Branching Out (Victor Victoria)”.” Women’s Wear Daily , 30 September 2007 .

Find in Library Zargani Luisa. ““Valentino Set to Go Younger. (Clothing Designer Will Launch Clothing Line for Young Men, Women Next Fall)”.” Women’s Wear Daily , 20 December 2002 .