In House of McQueen, her debut collection, Valerie Wallace is a master of contents under pressure ... The genius of this collection is the collaboration between poet and designer, and Wallace’s use of poetic technique—even something as seemingly insignificant as vowel sounds—to show how wearing orchards or the bloom of a damask pattern makes life take shape. This is Wallace’s first collection, but the poet’s understanding of craft is deep and historically-minded enough to dwell with McQueen’s cutting-edge aesthetic. Perhaps the end of 'Needles' says it best: 'I can’t get over how it all works in together.'
...simultaneously sharp and whimsical, risk-taking and carefully wrought, and so layered and thought-provoking that they complicate any easy critique or celebration of the fashion industry. Neither hagiography nor hatchet-job, House of McQueen invites us to ponder fashion, like poetry, as a richly paradoxical evocation of 'being alive' ... In Wallace’s hands, McQueen is as much a character as a historical figure, and the collection reads like a lyrical novel.
...scintillating and indelible ... Although she creates her sumptuous portrait with obvious admiration, Wallace resists being blindly worshipful, refusing to make either a sanitized angel or a romanticized devil out of this singularly complicated and tumultuous individual.