Read all about ’em in my column, IN THE NOH, in GAY CITY NEWS
THE WORLD OF VALENTINA
The Valentina exhibit at Museum of the City of NY, those are Katharine Hepburn’s pajamas on the far right
Kohle Yohannon’s magnificent book, VALENTINA: AMERICAN COUTURE AND THE CULT OF CELEBRITY
The designer, in one of her signature coolie hats
with her husband, George Schlee, in their apartment, playing Chinese Checkers
The Schlees, with ever-present friend, Garbo, taking a back seat
Valentina’s classic draped jersey, photographed by her friend Horst
Valentina, fitting client and friend, mezzzo-soprano Gladys Swarthout
As brilliant a costume designer as she was a couturiere, Valentina designed the single greatest opera costume of all time for Rosa Ponselle in CARMEN, 1935, which made the cover of Time magazine.
Katharine Hepburn on Broadway in THE PHILADELPHIA STORY, 1939. The laced girdle was a Valentina trademark. Duplicates of Valentina’s costumes were still being ordered by clients decades after the show closed.
Hepburn with Van Heflin and Joseph Cotten
Hepburn with Joseph Cotten
When Adrian designed the MGM movie version in 1940, you could not miss the “resemblances.”
Hepburn, with Cary Grant
Hepburn with Ruth Hussey and James Stewart
Hepburn with Cary Grant and James Stewart
Hepburn with George Cukor on the set
Copying Valentina was nothing new for Adrian; he had also done this when MGM made IDIOT’S DELIGHT with Norma Shearer in 1939. Adrian had a long look at what Valentina had done for Lynn Fontanne on the stage. Incidentally, Fontanne based her impersonation of a phony Russian countess in the play on Valentina.
Fontanne with Alfred Lunt in IDIOT’S DELIGHT on Broadway
Norma Shearer and Clark Gable in the 1939 film version
In 1942, Hepburn returned to Broadway in WITHOUT LOVE again gowned by Valentina. When MGM filmed it in 1945, Designer Irene also took inspiration from her stage looks, copying Valentina’s attached draped scarf effects.