Be Mine

Designer Valentine Leung takes a shine to dressmaking.
By Emily Basenberg
Like its name suggests, Valentine Leung's concise line of easygoing day dresses offers sweet relief this spring. The new warm-weather collection focuses on 1960s lines and childlike details such as rickrack trims, bib motifs, and Peter Pan collars. The collection is only Leung's second outing as a designer, but the arbiters at Barneys New York and Satine in Los Angeles are already onboard.
Leung has some experience with the market, having spent the last seven years assisting stylists on fashion shoots for Teen Vogue, Italian Vogue, and W. "Styling helped me see what goes beyond designing a garment," she says. "You learn about putting a look together and basically see what the complete picture is." The spring line is driven by silhouette; in particular the integrity of shape achieved when a dress is distinct from the body beneath—she achieves this thanks to various by-hand applications such as her signature pleating and ruffle techniques.
Minimalist art and the paintings of Richard Tuttle are consistent inspirations. No surprise, Leung focused on painting and performance video art while a student at UC Berkeley, and she doesn't rule out a foray into fine art in the future. But in the meantime, the designer is happy to keep on her current path, and cites her upbringing in Hong Kong where both parents worked as bespoke tailors, as major inspiration for her work as a designer. "My ideas come from my own experiences and memories," she says. Sweet.
Valentine is available in New York at I Heart, 262 Mott Street, 212-219-9265, and in Los Angeles at Satine, 8117 West 3rd Street, 323-655-2142. For more information, go to
Designer Valentine Leung takes a shine to dressmaking.

More from Fashion

R29 Original Series