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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."

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