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20-10-2005
  1
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1906-1978 Charles James
I couldn't find a thread on him, so...

Cecil Beaton's seminal portrait, Charles James dresses:


I think he was one of the great tragedies of the 20th century- a brilliant designer and perfectionist who couldn't handle his own genius. If anyone has any pictures of him or his work, I would really enjoy seeing them.

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21-10-2005
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I agree! He was an extremely gifted designer, famous for his sculpted ballgowns and precision tailoring. He was also the first designer to use zippers as a decorative element in his designs! I did an assignment on him in grade 11 fashion class. Here's one of his gowns from antiquedress.com
And another described as: "Elegant evening gown with shell pink satin over black lace with ginger antique silk hem." (en.wikipedia.org)
A photograph once again by Cecil Beaton titled "The Designer Charles James with a Model"
And a lovely pic of Evelyn Tripp in a Charles James creation (artnet.com)
And lastly (for this post :p ) a black satin evening dress, gorgeous!
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Grey Satin and Light Blue Taffeta Ballgown - front.jpg (14.6 KB, 11 views)
File Type: jpg Grey Satin and Light Blue Taffeta Ballgown - back.jpg (16.4 KB, 12 views)
File Type: jpg Charles_James.jpg (32.2 KB, 21 views)
File Type: jpg Charles James with a model.jpg (15.4 KB, 18 views)
File Type: bmp Evelyn Tripp in Charles James.bmp (250.7 KB, 4 views)
File Type: gif james_black.gif (4.4 KB, 265 views)

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01-01-2006
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Charles James was one of the most brilliant couturiers in any nationality or context. There was a movement to his cuts, quite Baroque.

He used to work on a single sleeve for two months.


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01-01-2006
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hmm
really good

thank you for this thread


Last edited by Estella*; 07-12-2006 at 08:10 AM.
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01-01-2006
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i love the structure of the dress's.

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02-01-2006
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fascinating man! He is fashion's own Frank Lloyd Wright, IMO.

I tried to find a picture of the cross section of the four-leaf clover dress (the third picture that Chelsea3c posted above), the thing has its own architectural drawings and features some major interlining - more like a building or a bridge than a dress. Anyways, I couldn't find it, does anyone have a picture of these drawings?

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Last edited by finalfashion; 02-01-2006 at 06:20 AM.
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16-03-2007
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"Four-Leaf Clover", Dress, Evening, 1953
Charles James (American, born Great Britain, 1906–1978), Designer
American
Gift of Elizabeth Fairall, 1953 (C.I.53.73)
met.org


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Last edited by Hanne; 08-11-2007 at 05:54 AM. Reason: image found and added back in
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11-05-2007
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Another thread to bring me joy!



24hourmuseum.org.uk . metropolitanmuseum.org

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Last edited by SomethingElse; 11-05-2007 at 01:43 AM.
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26-05-2007
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Quote:
Charles James (July 1906-1978) was a fashion designer known for his rather difficult aesthetic. He is considered a master of cutting.
James showed one of his most successful collections in Paris in 1947. In the 1950s he spent most of his time in New York.
James looked upon his dresses as works of art, as did many of his customers. Year after year he reworked original designs, ignoring the sacrosanct schedule of seasons. The components of the precisely constructed designs were interchangeable so that James had a never-ending fund of ideas on which to draw. He is most famous for his sculpted ball gowns made of lavish fabrics and to exacting tailoring standards, but is also remembered for his capes and coats, often trimmed with fur and embroidery, his spiral zipped dresses, and his white satin quilted jackets.
After the birth of his son, he also produced a children's collection.
He designed the interior and several pieces of furniture for the Houston home of John and Dominque de Menil.
After returning to New York City from Paris, Scaasi worked for James for two years.
wikipedia.org

Charles James velvet evening bodice, c.1949. Attribution: The Genius of Charles James by Elizabeth Ann Coleman, pp. 36, 42, 50-51, 122


vintagetextile.com

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Last edited by Hanne; 08-11-2007 at 05:51 AM. Reason: image edited back in
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27-05-2007
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The construction in the back of the dress in 10 is so beautiful.

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27-05-2007
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I work with a retired designer who knew James personally, lots of funny stories.

There was a time towards the end of his career when he was staying in the Chelsea hotel. He was conducting a fitting for a gown and the model's hips were too big (they weren't actually, but James was particular about things).
He sent his assistant out on to the street to find a new one! They actually ended up using a very skinny boy to do the fitting! No hips, hilarious!

I actually just finished building a crinoline for one of his clover dresses, it came from the Hearst family and one (of many) of the understructures went missing by the time my costume collection got it. It's utterly beautiful and the engineering involved is beyond words. In fact, it's those immaculate gowns that got him into trouble. I don't think James knew how to tone his vision down in order to do successful ready-to-wear.

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27-05-2007
  12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by finalfashion View Post
fascinating man! He is fashion's own Frank Lloyd Wright, IMO.

I tried to find a picture of the cross section of the four-leaf clover dress (the third picture that Chelsea3c posted above), the thing has its own architectural drawings and features some major interlining - more like a building or a bridge than a dress. Anyways, I couldn't find it, does anyone have a picture of these drawings?
I do, I will try to scan it in when I have the time.

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28-05-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mutterlein View Post
I work with a retired designer who knew James personally, lots of funny stories.

There was a time towards the end of his career when he was staying in the Chelsea hotel. He was conducting a fitting for a gown and the model's hips were too big (they weren't actually, but James was particular about things).
He sent his assistant out on to the street to find a new one! They actually ended up using a very skinny boy to do the fitting! No hips, hilarious!

I actually just finished building a crinoline for one of his clover dresses, it came from the Hearst family and one (of many) of the understructures went missing by the time my costume collection got it. It's utterly beautiful and the engineering involved is beyond words. In fact, it's those immaculate gowns that got him into trouble. I don't think James knew how to tone his vision down in order to do successful ready-to-wear.
Thank you for sharing this, Mutterlein!

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28-05-2007
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http://highheelsnewsletter.com/CharlesJames.html ~ A good and comprehensive article about his life and times.

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06-06-2007
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Quote:
Charles James for Samuel Winston Evening Gown
Circa 1952
The strapless bodice of teal blue taffeta gathered into variously angled folds and ruffled at top edge, descending to point at center front and back, the skirt of black velvet tightly fitted at hip, with stiffened flounce flaring outward below knee, separate net underslip with knife pleated satin flounce, size 4, skirt and slip labeled: Samuel Winston By Charles James.
Very good condition, slight fading to bodice, minor tears at slip waist.
In 1952, Charles James contracted with Samuel Winston to create thirty designs for a ready to wear line of day and evening clothes to be shown at the Winston showrooms at 530 7th Avenue. The collaboration lasted for a short time, ending in a law suit in 1954. See Elizabeth Ann Coleman, The Genius of Charles James, pp.93, 94.
Mrs. Charles (Janet) James, Jr. wore an identical dress to the opening of the Charles James exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum, October, 1982. See "A Celebration of Charles James," The New York Times, October 15, 1982.
doylenewyork

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File Type: jpg 267713.jpg (47.3 KB, 6 views)

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