We propose a novel method for constructing Hilbert transform (HT) pairs of wavelet bases based on a fundamental approximation-theoretic characterization of scaling functions-the B-spline factorization theorem. In particular, starting from well-localized scaling functions, we construct HT pairs of biorthogonal wavelet bases of L-2(R) by relating the corresponding wavelet filters via a discrete form of the continuous HT filter. As a concrete application of this methodology, we identify HT pairs of spline wavelets of a specific flavor, which are then combined to realize a family of complex wavelets that resemble the optimally-localized Gabor function for sufficiently large orders. Analytic wavelets, derived from the complexification of HT wavelet pairs, exhibit a one-sided spectrum. Based on the tensor-product of such analytic wavelets, and, in effect, by appropriately combining four separable biorthogonal wavelet bases of L-2(R-2), we then discuss a methodology for constructing 2-D directional-selective complex wavelets. In particular, analogous to the HT correspondence between the components of the 1-D counterpart, we relate the real and imaginary components of these complex wavelets using a multidimensional extension of the HT-the directional HT. Next, we construct a family of complex spline wavelets that resemble the directional Gabor functions proposed by Daugman. Finally, we present an efficient fast Fourier transform (FFT)-based filterbank algorithm for implementing the associated complex wavelet transform.