Skip to main content

America's First Couturier Charles James




My structures… look as if the body were no more ambulatory than a mermaid’s yet permit large reckless movement,” said Charles James America’s first couturier. Revered by his peers Christian Dior and Balenciaga who called him “the greatest couturier in the world”.  The Metropolitan Museum of Arts retrospective, “ Beyond Fashion: Charles James" pays homage to his artistry through August 10th. 

The exhibit showcases his gowns with trademark names Four leaf Clover, Butterfly, Tulip and Swan. The exhibit includes an infrared camera display to feature the sculpture and construction of several gowns.  The new Anna Wintour Costume Center displays his Chelsea Hotel atelier, drafts, notes and sketches by Joe Eula.  His designs were worn by private clients, the wives of millionaire titans and best dressed list perennials like Babe Paley, Millicent Rogers, Gloria Vanderbilt, Dominique de Menil, Mrs. William Randolph Hearst Jr., Gypsy Rose Lee and the exquisite movie star Marlene Dietrich. Today’s stylish beauties such as Eletra Wideman, Marisa Tomei and Angela Jolie who wore Charles James in her movie, “The Tourist”, appreciate the timeless elegance of his designs.
Babe Paley
Eletra Wideman   Marisa Tomei

  Marchesa designer Georgina Chapman and her husband movie mogul Harvey Weinstein are launching a revival of the Charles James brand. Do see the collection of the man his friend photographer Bill Cunningham, called "the Einstein of fashion."






Popular posts from this blog

Black + Beautiful Vogue Cover Girls

The first black model to grace the cover of British Vogue was Donyale Luna in 1966.  Donyale went on to star in movies directed by Otto Preminger, Federico Fellini and Andy Warhol, before the end of her short tumultuous life.   The cover of Vogue is the pinnacle of any model’s career. The honor can lead to high-end fashion and beauty contracts, film, TV and commercial roles and entrepreneurial enterprises.  The first African American model on the cover of American Vogue was Beverly Johnson.  Her career achievements include film and TV roles, two beauty books and a successful hair product line.  Beverly is the star of a reality show on OWN“Beverly’s Full House”real estate entrepreneur. The second African American model to score a Vogue cover was Peggy Dillard. Peggy is now a successfulHer Harlem salon, Turning Heads was on the vanguard of the natural hair movement.  Somalian beauty Iman is also a multi hyphenate talent. Iman is an actress, author and CEO of Iman Cosmetics. Many Vogue…

Where are the Sex Symbols?

Marilyn Monroe,  Raquel Welch , Pam Grier,  Brigette Bardot, Farrah Fawcett and Sophia Loren.
Those gorgeous goddesses who are beautiful, talented and curvaceous of course. The women who inspire dreams, lived our fantasies, redefine fashion, reinvent sexy and start a rebellion on screen. Where are the Sex Symbols?

"MINISTER OF SELF DEFENSE"

Last year I remembered a documentary I saw produced by Antoine Fuqua called, "Bastards of the Party" about the Bloods and the Crips. The director, a former gang member felt the gang turf wars grew out of the restless generation that came after The 

Black Panther Party who patrolled to monitor police brutality during the civil rights era. I thought it was fascinating it got me to thinking about Huey P. Newton co-founder and Minister of Self Defense of The Black Panther Party. I started reading everything on his life and work. Truly a labor of love one book on Eldridge Cleaver (Eldridge Cleaver author of Soul on Ice and Minister of Information became a Republican ) would lead me to a book on Geronimo Pratt and on to a book about his lawyer Johnnie Cochran and so on. I read Alondra Nelson' book, “Body and Soul The Black Panther Party and the Fight against Medical Discrimination” for her extensive research on the Party's healthcare activism. Tumbler is a great source for …