CHARLES JAMES: Architect in Cloth

CHARLES JAMES: Architect in Cloth

One of the 20th century’s greatest and most influential couturiers, Charles James (1906-1978) transformed women’s fashion with his innovative tailoring techniques and extraordinary sculptural forms. He also altered the way successive designers would approach the medium to this very day. Thus it’s fitting that the inaugural exhibition of the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art’s newly renovated Costume Institute is a major retrospective of James’ groundbreaking fashions and gowns. But the exhibition goes even deeper. Recognizing the structural complexity of James’ innovative designs, and his highly sculptural and mathematically exacting construction process, the curators consulted with architects to see how they might best illuminate the science behind his creations. The result is a fashion exhibition unlike any we have seen before -- not only for the marvelous designs themselves, but also for the technological analysis of their construction. With the aid of robotic arms that circle highlighted gowns, architectural software is employed to give viewers a 360-degree look beneath the surface, through the many lines and layers of the designs down to their very underpinnings. The dazzling show should appeal as much to aficionados of architecture and design as to fashion mavens, and just about anyone who is curious about the vision and work process of a creative genius.

Here’s a preview:  Charles James: Beyond Fashion through August 10, 2014 at The Metropolitan Museum of Art

 By Jorge Socarras