Original silver gelatin photograph by the great fashion photographer depicting the Ukrainian émigrée fashion designer and theatrical costume designer known as "Valentina" in a striking hat and polka-dot oversized sequin shawl. Surface creasing, light spotting along margins, mounting remnants to verso which obscure the identifying information leaving just enough visible to identify the image as by Hoyningen-Huene, else in fine condition. 8 x 10 inches (20.3 x 25.4 cm.). Another image of Valentina by Hoyningen-Huene was published in Harper's Bazaar in July 1940. We have not located a published example of the present portrait, although it might have been published in Vogue or Harper's Bazaar. We are grateful for the assistance of Asa Ronngren of the Hoyningen-Huene Estate Archives for her assistance in the authentication of this photograph.
As Chief Photographer of Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar in the 1920's-1930's, George Hoyningen-Huene photographed french fashion from Dior, Chanel and Balenciaga. "George Hoyningen-Huene is acknowledged as one of the most iconic pioneers in the genre of fashion photography. His elegant pared down style has had a dramatic impact on fashion houses around the world and his work continues to have relevance today, as someone who created some of the most striking photographic portraits and compositions of the twentieth century." (George Hoyningen-Huene Estate Archives)
Active from 1928 to the late 1950s, Schlee 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 and established her reputation as a designer for the stage. Schlee dressed such actresses of the era as Lynn Fontanne, Katharine Cornell, Greta Garbo, Gloria Swanson, Gertrude Lawrence, and Katharine Hepburn and her Broadway successes included the costumes for the play The Philadelphia Story. She also dressed prominent New York society women including members of the Whitney and Vanderbilt families. In 2009, Valentina: American Couture and the Cult of Celebrity, a large retrospective exhibition opened at the Museum of the City of New York.