Vicki and Franz von Holzhausen’s shared values underline a strong commitment to each other.
Franz and Vicki von Holzhausen met while working in the car industry, but it wasn’t until years after they had both left General Motors that they began to romance. “Having design in common made things easy because we both understood the intensity of that industry, but we also shared an outlook on life and common values,” says Vicki of her marriage of nine years. Those mutual beliefs have led them both to pursue-and succeed at-impressive feats: Franz is the director of design at Tesla (tesla.com), and Vicki has her own accessories line of bags, belts and pouches, called von Holzhausen (vonholzhausen.com).
“I joined Tesla in 2008 when we had yet to deliver any cars to customers,” says Franz, whose early career also included a stint at Volkswagen. “Electric cars were an anomaly then. Today, my role is to design the most advanced vehicles and to build and lead the most advanced design team on the planet.”
Vicki took on her own massive challenge when she left the automotive industry to start her eponymous line in 2015. “I launched the collection with an aim to translate my experience in automotive design into the fashion space, merging an ethical approach with a minimalist aesthetic,” she says. In the last year, she has furthered that goal by transitioning the entire collection to Technik-Leather, a high-tech, eco-friendly leather substitute she sourced from the automobile industry that feels and looks luxe without harming the planet.
Together, the couple is making a significant impact in the world of environmentalism, but at home in Malibu, they’re simply a married couple with two little boys, ages 3 and 5. “We both have demanding careers, so when we’re together, we tend to take a break and talk about our boys,” says Vicki, who unveiled a men’s collection in August and is developing a shoe range for both sexes to be launched early next year. “But [Franz] does had high-level ideas now and then. He actually suggested I start the men’s line.”
Franz in fact has to leave his work at the office, thanks to his high-profile position. “Given the security required for work we are doing, I’m not able to discuss work-related topics at home,” he says. But that doesn’t stop the couple from finding countless ways in which their outlooks and interests merge, creating both a solid marriage and an inspiring meeting of the minds. “We’re renovating our home right now, so that’s been a way we’ve managed to work together on a design project,” says Vicki. According to Franz, the couple’s differences sometimes enhance their strengths. “In many areas, we have a really similar aesthetic, but we definitely have our own unique perspectives on things like music, fashion and hobbies - it ends up being just right.”