Valentina (Valentina Nicholaevna Sanina Schlee, 1899-1989) was the twentieth century’s first American fashion designer celebrity, working and living on equal social footing with the clientele she dressed (Greta Garbo, Gloria Swanson, Katharine Hepburn, Millicent Rogers, and Audrey Hepburn, among others). One of the few designers who proved that America could live without the Parisian haute couture, her career is a much needed missing link in the history of American fashion. Beyond merely turning out show-stopping evening gowns, Valentina’s exotic beauty, dramatic personality, and incomparable style earned her a legendary reputation. This volume explores the carefully constructed persona and lore of this designer who helped define American Couture. It includes photographs, never-before-seen personal ephemera, sketches, and original platinum prints from master photographers such as Cecil Beaton, Horst P. Horst, and George Hoyningen-Huene.
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