May 30, 2019 | By Louise Squire
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Opening today at The Met’s new Anna Wintour Costume Center is the inaugural exhibition Charles James: Beyond Fashion. Fusing age-old elegance with modern-day technology, this showcase highlights the couturier’s design process, innovative silhouettes and revolutionary ball gowns that continue to influence designers today. The retrospective is spread across three gallery spaces and features 65 of James’s most notable designs spanning the length of his career.
The first-floor special exhibition gallery highlights the elegance and the extraordinary architecture of the designer’s ball gowns, while the Anna Wintour Costume Center’s Lizzie and Jonathan Tisch Gallery explores the career of the legendary 20th-century couturier. Day and evening wear are presented in four categories: Spirals & Wraps, Drapes & Folds, Platonic Form and Anatomical Cut. The adjacent Carl and Iris Barrel Apfel Gallery displays dress forms, jewelry maquettes, scrapbooks and accessories (including hats from James’s early work as a milliner) from the designer’s personal and design archives. One of the most talked-about openings of the year, Charles James: Beyond Fashion is an absolute must see. –Sarah Ryan Hecht
“Charles James was a wildly idiosyncratic, emotionally fraught fashion genius who was also committed to teaching. He dreamt that his lifetime of personal creative evolution and the continuous metamorphosis of his designs would be preserved as a study resource for students. In our renovated galleries, we will fulfill his goal and illuminate his design process as a synthesis of dressmaking, art, math and science.”
–Harold Koda, Curator in Charge at The Costume Institute.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
1000 Fifth Avenue / 1 212 535 7710
May 8 – August 10, 2014
Photos courtesy of the museum
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