The chic dresses of Valentina exemplify cognoscenti high style in New York in the 1940s and 1950s. Her minimalist design was always elegant but never apparent, almost obviating "design." Her discreet black dresses, for example, were always perfect for pictures in the days of black-and-white photography, offering cool, sure graceful frames to the face. While The Costume Institute has long had several Valentina pieces, the collection has been enormously enhanced by a gift of Igor Kamlukin, grand-nephew of the designer. He has also donated Valentina scrapbooks and papers to the Irene Lewisohn Costume Reference Library.