Off the beaten path

by Amanda Bedgood

Ladylike style with edge

Victoria Toups has fast become one of those people you look forward to seeing at any given event. She has style that's a study in ladylike shapes that is in some ways retro and at other moments edgy and always far ahead of the trend curve. Her style never is the sort of thing you could imagine seeing on a mannequin - nobody does such a diverse collection that blends so seamlessly.

"I like to mix vintage with designer with Target," she explains on a low-sitting vivid vintage couch in the mod-vibe townhouse she shares with pal Stephen Barker.

On the day we shot her IND Style feature I arrived to find her in a silky leopard robe that was cuter than what most people wear every day. She morphed quickly into an ensemble that's pure Toups and slapped on some subtle lipstick. Her dress is vintage, her shoes are Fendi, the pearls are from Stephen and the broach attached is from her grandmother. The kiki employee has an armful of bracelets that are just the sort of collection Toups pulls off without effort.

"This one is from the Virgin Islands, this is Chan Luu, this is my mom's old diamond tennis bracelet, this is the new Lafayette ID bracelet we carry at kiki with the city's coordinates and this one has Elvis on it," she says.

She loves Elvis. And Britney Spears (she even has her first demo tape). Her style icon is the fearless Iris Apfel - a 92-year-old staple on New York's fashion stage with an eclectic look that's as off beat as it comes. And Toups can play the piano. When we met she was awaiting delivery of a new upright in the coming days. It's easy to picture the slight blue-eyed fashion plate tapping the keys while wearing a shift dress and probably sipping a martini. But, she wouldn't sip a martini, she'd be swigging a Budweiser, she tells us.

"A good ole ten ounce can of Bud heavy," she says. "Or very expensive champagne."