The Met (The Metropolitan Museum of Art) has recently announced that it will showcase an exhibit of the late Charles James’ work in fashion design. Charles James: Beyond Fashion will showcase on May 8th, which will also be the inaugural exhibition of the newly restructured Costume Institute. Museum paramours and fashion-addicts can observe the illustrious career of Charles James (1906-1978) until August 10th, 2014.
James began designing in London, where he was born and raised. He moved to Paris where he continued to perfect his craft and hone—before arriving in New York City in 1940. James had no formal training, but is now regarded as one of the greatest and most influential designers in the style of Houte Couture. His infatuation with complex cuts and odd seaming led to the birth of many key design elements, which were updated throughout his life – Figure-eight skirts, Ribbon Capes and dresses, and Poufs are some of the many few pioneering cuts James sculpted.
Much of the exhibition will focus and explore many of Charles James’ designs, his process, the focus and craftsmanship he put into each design, the science behind it, and the advance mathematical approach that went into constructing ball gowns that not only innovated—but revolutionized today’s gowns.
Charles James: Beyond Fashion will be presented and shown in two different locations – The New Costume Institute, and Special Exhibition Galleries on the Museum’s main first floor. The first-floor will spotlight the allure and magnificent architecture of James’ ball gowns—from the 1930s to the 1950s, including his most iconic gowns – “Tree,” “Swan,” “Diamond,” and “Butterfly.”
The New Costume Institute’s Lizze and Jonathan Tish Gallery will showcase the technology and elasticity to emphasize James’ life via sketches, pattern types, and his partially completed work from his last studio, which happen to be his final resting spot – The Chelsea Hotel in New York City.
Both exhibition locations will have video animations to help elucidate the creative process that went into each and every dress, which ultimately redefined the female body and figure.
Charles James – A man so great that he was given two first names. And after seeing Charles James: Beyond Fashion, you’ll understand his greatness.