Valentina 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. Kohle Yohannan explores the carefully constructed persona and lore of this designer who helped define American Couture. Published in association with the Museum of the City of New York's exhibition Valentina: New York Couture and the Cult of Celebrity, this book 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.
Kohle Yohannan is an art and design historian, and the author of several books. Harold Koda is curator-in-charge of the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Exhibition Schedule: Museum of the City of New York, opens February 14, 2009