It is a truth that universally known that soon award season will be upon us, and to kick start the parade of fashionable celebrities is The Met’s Costume Institute Exhibit. Where last year’s theme was punk, this year is all about Charles James, making this year’s gala go from copious amounts of studs and eyeliner to dresses and fashion fit for Audrey Hepburn.
Who is Charles James, you ask? It’s ok, until 5 minutes ago, we didn’t really know who he was either. Considered America’s first courtier, James was revolutionary for his work with manipulating fabric and constant buzz of creativity. He started a dress shop in New York with his first commission was for actress Gertrude Lawrence. As he established a name for himself, he also traveled throughout Europe and was surround by artists such as Cecil Beaton, Stephen Tennant, Pavel Tchelitchew, Jean Cocteau, and Salvador Dalí and fashion giants Paul Poiret, Elsa Schiaparelli, Cristobal Balenciaga, and Christian Dior.
Because of his constant creativity, James’s signature style is hard to pinpoint, but can only be described as quintessential 50s glamour. Mostly known for his dreamlike confections and ballgowns, some of his designs were considered the epitome of modernity, with fabric hugging the body, while others designs draw inspirations from Victorian fashion with the use of corsets and structured pieces.
His design technique was more mathematical and was inspired from architecture with great attention to tailoring. Although not many people have heard of the name, you’ve probably seen his design when Marisa Tomei wore one of his vintage dresses at the 2011 oscars. We personally can’t wait to see what the red carpet pictures for this year’s gala.
Here are some of his designs to give you an idea of his work and aesthetic.