Charles James at the Met

Posted by stephan | May 5th, 2014

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Charles James

As one of American fashion’s iconic institutions, the Costume Institute sets the standard for what is considered culturally significant within the world of fashion. More than simply capturing the mood of the moment, their exhibits provide a succinct guide through the industry’s important movements and key figures. Though the annual Costume Institute exhibits often chart the histories of an important modern designer, or au courant trend – they also serve to introduce a younger generation of fashionphiles to eras bygone and influential names whose enduring work impacts the business daily.

Such is the case with 2014’s Costume Institute exhibition, Charles James, Beyond Fashion. James’ name may be familiar to those with an appreciation of vintage couture, but for the most this exhibition will serve as a thoughtfully curated and in-depth introduction to a rare talent. Known for his exquisite cuts and groundbreaking shapes, James’ gowns were a favorite of the social set including fabled names like Mona von Bismarck & Babe Paley. With their classic elegance and sartorial grandeur James’ creations regularly appeared in Cecil Beaton’s photographs for Vogue and served to influence a host of designers that followed. Christian Dior even credited James’ work with inspiring elements of ‘The New Look’s silhouette. James considered each creation a singular work of art rather than a simple dress and when one sees his corseted, ruffled and intricately detailed gowns up close it’s hard to argue with that logic.

Text by Janelle Okwodu
Photos by Betty Sze

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Charles James with Model, 1948 – Image courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Photograph by Cecil Beaton / Vogue / Condé Nast Archive. Copyright © Condé Nast
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10 Comments

  1. royy4 says:

    Sorry but i never heard of him…beautiful dresses anyway

  2. Erik says:

    Charles James is litteraly the inventor of haute couture as we know it today, making him the actual original couturier. Looking at these pictures, it’s amazing to see how almost all of his silhouettes still exist today in fashion. Looks like an amazing exhibition!

  3. christy says:

    gorgeous

  4. Maya says:

    I would not have the opportunity to experience this exhibition if it were not for these amazing pictures & article. Thank you!

  5. Damache Anamaria says:

    So beautiful. I would like to see only that.

  6. rob says:

    No Erik, Charles Frederik Worth was the inventor of haute couture.

  7. JW says:

    I like the dressmaking quote…sage words.

    JW

  8. katrin says:

    the new talent fashion ,stylish brazilian

    http://designermalero.blogspot.com.br/2013/08/colecao-dentro-de-todo-mar-tem-um-rio.html

    loook….very coolll

  9. Iren says:

    incredible style, I really like. It’s so feminine and unusual!

  10. gabe says:

    Goooooooooooorgeous!!! Does anyone know if photography is allowed?

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