The Metropolitan Museum of Art hosted a press presentation on Monday, February 10, 2014, at the Museum to reveal early details about The Costume Institute’s upcoming exhibition, Charles James: Beyond Fashion, and the new Anna Wintour Costume Center, both opening on May 8. Aerin Lauder, Lizzie and Jonathan Tisch, and Anna Wintour joined Museum Director Thomas P. Campbell, Museum President Emily Rafferty, and Curator in Charge of The Costume Institute Harold Koda in the Lizzie and Jonathan Tisch Gallery for a glimpse of some of the James gowns to be featured in the exhibition, on view May 8–August 10, 2014, at the Met in New York City. Elettra Wiedemann wore a facsimile of Charles James’s Clover Leaf Gown; the facsimile was created to study the dress in motion, since the original, like all accessioned objects at the Museum, cannot be worn.
The Costume Institute’s new Anna Wintour Costume Center will open on May 8 with the inaugural exhibition Charles James: Beyond Fashion, on view from May 8 through August 10, 2014, which will examine the career of legendary 20th-century Anglo-American couturier Charles James (1906–1978). The exhibition will be presented in two locations–the new Lizzie and Jonathan Tisch Gallery in the Anna Wintour Costume Center as well as special exhibition galleries on the Museum’s first floor. The exhibition will explore James’s design process and his use of sculptural, scientific, and mathematical approaches to construct revolutionary ball gowns and innovative tailoring that continue to influence designers today.
The retrospective exhibition, Charles James: Beyond Fashion, will feature approximately 75 of the most notable designs produced by James over the course of his career, from the 1920s until his death in 1978. The first-floor special exhibition galleries will spotlight the resplendent glamour and breathtaking architecture of James’s ball gowns from the 1940s through 1950s, worn by such renowned clients as Austine Hearst, Millicent Rogers, and Dominique de Menil.
The new Lizzie and Jonathan Tisch Gallery will provide the technology and flexibility to dramatize James’s biography via archival pieces including sketches, pattern pieces, swatches, ephemera, and partially completed works from his last studio in New York City’s Chelsea Hotel. The evolution and metamorphosis by James of specific designs over decades will also be shown. Video animations in both exhibition locations will illustrate how he created anatomically considered dresses that sculpted and reconfigured the female form. Continue reading