Charles James

Beyond Fashion

Harold Koda and Jan Glier Reeder; With a preface by Ralph Rucci and contributions by Sarah Scaturro and Glenn Petersen

View Inside Price: $50.00

June 3, 2014
264 pages, 10 x 13
315 color + b/w illus.
ISBN: 9780300204360

Published by The Metropolitan Museum of Art/Distributed by Yale University Press

"His work went beyond fashion and was a fine art." —a Charles James patron

Charles James, often considered to be America’s first couturier, was renowned in the 1940s and 1950s as a master at sculpting fabric for the female form and creating fashions that defined mid-century glamour. Although James had no formal training as a dressmaker, he created strikingly original and complex designs, including intricate ball gowns worn by members of high society in New York and Europe. This lavishly illustrated book offers a comprehensive study of James’ life and work, highlighting his virtuosity and inventiveness as well as his influence on subsequent fashion designers.
Featuring exciting new photography of the spectacular evening dresses James produced between 1947 and 1955, this publication includes enlightening details of these intricate creations alongside vintage photographs and rarely seen archival items, such as patterns, muslins, dress forms, and sketches. A detailed and illustrated chronology of James’ life describes his magnetic personality, his unorthodox design processes, his colorful supporters—such as Salvador Dalí, Elsa Schiaparelli, Christian Dior, and Cristobal Balenciaga—and profiles of a number of his famous clients, such as Gypsy Rose Lee. With flair and style echoing that of its subject, Charles James brings to life one of the most fascinating and creative figures in American fashion.
Harold Koda is curator in charge and Jan Glier Reeder is consulting curator, Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection, both at The Costume Institute, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.


The Metropolitan Museum of Art

"Charles James: Beyond Fashion . . . by The Costume Institute's Harold Koda and Jan Glier Reeder, demonstrates just how inspiring James was, and how much 'beyond' clothes that influence goes."—Women’s Wear Daily

"A major retrospective of his work. A well-dressed coffee-table book to match. Yes, the inventor of American couture is back."—Dallas Morning News

"This luscious volume took me into another world—a world where gowns are architecture and gossamer and dreams and drop-dead sexy all at once."—Library Journal

"[A] magisterial monograph."—Laura Jacobs, Wall Street Journal

"One of the most beautiful books ever printed."—Leonard Lopate, WNYC

"The . . . catalog, Charles James: Beyond Fashion, is as sumptuous as [James'] work."—Chicago Tribune

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