“Charles James is not only the most eminent American couturier, but also the best, and the only one who has raised Haute Couture from applied art form to pure art form”. Cristobal Balenciaga
Settings: Met Museum , May 8- Aug 10 2014
Leading character: Anglo American couturier Charles James, after designing in his native London, and then Paris, arrived in New York City in 1940. Though he had no formal training, he is now regarded as one of the greatest designers in America to have worked in the tradition of the Haute Couture. Indeed, the 1940′s and ’50′s was the era that produced his most famous work, and earnt him the admiration of his peers and clients alike. His revolutionary designs graced the pages of countless style periodicals of the day, including Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar and encountered the appreciation of socialites and heiresses of the time. His dramatic ball gowns, the “Four-Leaf Clover,” “Butterfly,” “Tree,” “Swan,” and “Diamond”, with their sculpted and fitted bodices, voluminous skirts, and intricate draping express Charles ‘ great love for the grand and the magnificent and will be showcased in the exhibition.
Plot: “Charles James: Beyond Fashion” opens its doors to the public on Thursday 8th of May at Met Museum in New York. The exhibition also inaugurates the opening of the Anna Wintour Costume Center. Approximately seventy-five of James’s most notable designs will be presented , spotlighting the glamour and resplendent architecture of his ball gowns from the 1940s through 1950s. Video animations will illustrate how he created anatomically considered dresses that sculpted and reconfigured the female form. Last Monday, in the occasion of the annual Met Ball, men guests were expected to wear ‘White Tie and Decorations’ while ladies showed up in full-on ball gowns to pay homage to the couturier.
Austine Hearst wearing the Clover Leaf Gown, 1953
Model wearing the Butterfly Gown, photo by Cecile Beaton, 1954
Charles James photographed by Cecile Beaton, 1929Source: Met Museum