Couturier Charles James on…"Clients whom I would have liked to dress…"


If you have the opportunity to visit the exhibition Charles James: Beyond Fashion at the Metropolitan Museum (closing August 10), don't skip the small room devoted to the designer's archives.  James was clearly aware of his place in fashion history and made sure to document his influences (including Jules Pascin, Kees von Dongen and Christian Berard) and opinions on his contemporaries ("Illustrative Designer-Artists whom I abhorred and thought in their pretention to represent fashion disgraced it: ERTE").

Here are a few of the bodies beautiful he would have liked to have dressed – "…Some I could have but did not":


Gertrude STEIN.
Massive elegance; great style.

Princess MARGARET ROSE.
Born a fairy princess to charm and court discipline; become [sic] sad with time.

Mrs William BUCKLEY    New York.

Smart, imaginative, ready to develop taste; still lacking it.
Miss Lana TURNER
Beautiful and far greater actress than recognized.


Miss Greta GARBO      New York
Need I say?

Top photo courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art: 
Brown silk chiffon, cream silk satin, brown silk satin, dark brown nylon tulle
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Purchase, Friends of The Costume Institute Fund, 2013 (2013.591)