Valerie Steele is director and chief curator of The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology, where she has personally organized more than 20 exhibitions since 1997, including The Corset: Fashioning the Body, London Fashion, Gothic: Dark Glamour, Shoe Obsession, Daphne Guinness, A Queer History of Fashion, and Dance and Fashion. She is also founder and editor in chief of Fashion Theory: The Journal of Dress, Body & Culture, the first peer-reviewed, scholarly journal in Fashion Studies.
Steele combines serious scholarship (and a Yale Ph.D.) with a rare ability to communicate with general audiences. She is author or co-author of more than 20 books, including Fashion and Eroticism, Paris Fashion, Women of Fashion, Fetish: Fashion, Sex and Power, The Corset: A Cultural History, Gothic: Dark Glamour, Japan Fashion Now, The Impossible Collection Fashion, The Berg Companion to Fashion, and Fashion Designers A-Z: The Collection of The Museum at FIT, as well as contributing essays to publications, such as Fashion and Art and Impressionism, Fashion & Modernity. Her books have been translated into Chinese, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, and Russian.
As author, curator, editor, and public intellectual, Valerie Steele has been instrumental in creating the modern field of fashion studies and in raising awareness of the cultural significance of fashion. She has appeared on many television programs, including The Oprah Winfrey Show and Undressed: The Story of Fashion. Described in The Washington Post as one of fashions brainiest women and by Suzy Menkes as The Freud of Fashion, she was listed among Fashions 50 Most Powerful by the Daily News and as one of The People Shaping the Global Fashion Industry in the Business of Fashion 500 (2014).