Roberto de Villacis

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Roberto de Villacis (born March 10, 1967, as Robert O. Henrichsen de Villacis) is an Ecuadorian American fashion designer and artist, best known as for his Trash Couture clothing brand and art collective, United Aliens.

Early life[edit]

Roberto was born in Quito, Ecuador[1] to American Civil Engineer Robert Henrichsen and Ecuadorian socialite and humanitarian Olga Ortiz de Villacis. He spent his early years between Ecuador, New York, Florida and the Caribbean. When Roberto was seven, the family relocated to their beach house in Fort Lauderdale, Florida after the death of his father while working on an oil project in Trinidad and Tobago During his senior year at the Pinecrest Prep School, he won a scholarship for the Pratt Institute. After attending Pratt's foundation year, Roberto transferred from Pratt to study fashion design at Studio Berçot in Paris where he was mentored by Madame Marie Rucki.[2] After graduating in 1991, he remained in Paris where he created his first collection. As a young Latino American in Paris, he was exposed to Couture, the arts and the old world glamour of European society. His American Latino heritage and his newfound "savoir-faire" would become the foundation of his design philosophy.

Early career[edit]

His first collection was featured in Spanish Vogue, styled by Lisa Lovatt-Smith and Flavia Lafer, photographed by the legendary fashion icon Karl Lagerfeld.[1] His modern concept of "hi-fashion basics" was quickly recognized by the fashion industry for its innovative fabrics, streamlined silhouttes and couture-inspired workmanship.

Shortly thereafter, Roberto was introduced to Stuart Kriesler, formally of Ralph Lauren, through a mutual friend, Temple St. Clair in New York. Kriesler presented Roberto to Saks Fifth Avenue who purchased his collection at age 24.

After a quick success, Roberto found he was unprepared to meet the demand for his product. He decided to take a sabbatical from Fashion and started focusing on his other artistic talents. He began working on light sculptures, which were a part of the "L'Art de la Table" and are now part of the permanent collection at the Museum of Decorative Arts at the Louvre[1] in Paris.

In 1995, de Villacis worked as a head designer for the launch of Anna Molinari's[3] signature label. In 1996 Roberto joined Missoni's creative team[2] as their Men's Designer for the re-launch of their brand.[4] He stayed with Missoni until 2000. He then consulted as an Art Director for Lancôme, creating the slogan "Believe in Beauty" and the "Poetry of Science" for Kerastase L’Oreal. In 2002 he founded Trash-Couture[3]/Future Vintage London/Paris.

By leveraging his hi-fashion experience Trash-Couture was an instant success by creating a unique, signature look using recycled fabrics from couture houses. Becoming global within the first three seasons, clients included Bergdorf Goodman, Saks Fifth Avenue, L' Eclaireur, Corso Como, Joyce. Opium, Sanahunt, Al' Ostura, Harvey Nichols, Les Habitudes, H.Lorenzo and Royal Flash. Celebrity clients ranged from Penélope Cruz, Britney Spears to the late Countess Celia von Bismark. The first haute-couture collection was well received by influential critics from Vanessa Friedman of the Financial Times, Suzy Menkes of the International Tribune to Nina Garcia from Elle. Today the term trash-couture is now a popular term in fashion for deconstructed glam-rock styles. Its influence can be seen from haute-couture to hi-fashion (i.e. Chanel's "vintage look" tulle trims to Rodarte's similar artistic use of juxtposing fabric, pattern and color as "art to wear"). The last seen appearance of an original Trash-Couture dress by Roberto was in the hit TV series Desperate Housewives. Original Trash-Couture pieces are sought-after by collectors on popular sites such as eBay.


In 2007 Roberto moved back to America after 20 years in Europe. Now based in Los Angeles, CA and Bal Harbour, FL, his focus shifted to Haute Couture for the Arts, catering to artists, aristocrats and an A-list clientele. American Idol and Grammy award winner Carrie Underwood selected Roberto to create the dress for the album cover Carnival Ride which went to become number one in America. His collaboration extended to designing the red carpet dress, a disintegrated ballgown top worn with jeans for the Pop idol show and an evening dress for the music video of the Disney film Enchanted.[5]

His designs have been photographed by the legendary Helmut Newton, Ellen Von Unwerth, Steven Meisel and featured in Vanity Fair, Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, W, and Elle.[6][7] Mega-stars including Penélope Cruz and Kirsten Dunst to super-models Kate Moss and Verushka[8] showcased his original designs from red carpet premieres, press photos to charity events.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d "Rdv Bio". Retrieved 2009-09-06. [dead link]
  2. ^ a b "Excite - Fashion & Beauty". 1970-04-13. Retrieved 2009-09-06. 
  3. ^ a b "Trash Couture are Paris based designers Ann Wiberg and Roberto Henrichsen | Trash-Couture | Fashion - Fashion Style Guide". Fashion 2006-01-11. Retrieved 2009-09-06. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ Tamblyn, Karen (2009-07-27). "karen Tamblyn, Designer for your image: Roberto De Villacis Couture Show In San Francisco!!". Retrieved 2009-09-06. 
  6. ^ "Roberto de Villacis". Young Hollywood. Retrieved 2009-09-06. 
  7. ^
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External links[edit]