Curator and historian Kohle Yohannan takes us inside the world of America's first celebrity designer.
Valentina opened a small couture dress house, Valentina's Gowns on Madison Avenue in 1928. Her first stage commission was costumes for Judith Anderson in 1933's Come of Age. The costumes were better received than the play, and established her reputation as a designer for the stage. Valentina dressed such actresses of the era as Lynn Fontanne, Greta Garbo, Gloria Swanson, Gertrude Lawrence, and Katharine Hepburn. Her Broadway successes included the costumes for the stage version of The Philadelphia Story. She also dressed prominent New York society women including members of the Whitney and Vanderbilt families. In 1950 Valentina also introduced a perfume, "My Own".
Valentina's made-to-measure, flowing styles combined the intricate bias cut of Madeleine Vionnet and the grace of gowns by Alix Gres. "Simplicity survives the changes of fashion," she said in the late 1940s. "Women of chic are wearing now dresses they bought from me in 1936. Fit the century, forget the year. wiki