Monday, August 4, 2014

Charles James: Beyond Fasion at the MET

This past Thursday I had an entire afternoon in NYC to myself. What a treat :) 

The dilemma on what to do..... Head over to the fashion district and hit the fabric shops, spending oodles of fabric to add to an already overly large stash?... OR head in the other direction and go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art to see the Charles James exhibit, wander around in awe gazing lovingly on his beautiful creations and hopefully become inspired to use some of my overly large stash in some creations? 

Ohhhhh... The decision was difficult. I mean really, Mood, Parons, Spandex house, M&J trims and more OR some of the most beautiful creations ever made in the US by one of the best designers.

I ultimately decided to head to the MET. The fabric stores aren't going anywhere and there was nothing I was dying to purchase but the Charles James MET exhibition is only showing for a couple more weeks! I just HAD to go.

I made the RIGHT decision! Oh the joys of having all afternoon in the MET by myself was just a delectable experience. The Charles James exhibit was split into 2 parts within the museum. The first part was in a special exhibit area near the main entrance and the second half was across the museum on the lower level in the newly renovated Costume Institute area. This made for an interesting experience for me.... As I was heading from one area to the other I became hopelessly lost, mostly impart to my paying no attention whatsoever to where I was going and just checking out areas and pieces of art that grabbed my attention. :) so fun to lose myself in that massive museum! 

Anyway, I thrououghly enjoyed the Charles James exhibit, a special exhibit on modern jewelry and the roof top garden installation where I enjoyed a nice cold beer and an amazing view of the city. 

I then decided to visit the Charles James exhibit one more time! I mean why not!!! 

At the end of my day I, of course, visited the museum shop and picked up the Charles James Exhibit catalogue. I love these catalogues and have several from other exhibits as well. 

I have heard of Charles James before and seen photos of his work but never anything to in-depth. The most outstanding thing to me about his work is the use of interesting seams. The seaming details in almost every garment are truly exquisite. Also his use of draping and folds to create interest and details is pretty ingenious. I can only imagine the amount of time each of these garments took to complete! 

The catalogue is a beautiful documentation of his work with just hundreds of pictures of the garments along with detailed close ups of the beautiful seaming details that he used.

Here are some pictures of the exhibit! It was truly beautiful. 


Some of his muslin work

Butterfly Ball Gown 1955

Clover Leaf Ballgown 1953. The back is so beautiful with the back lapels and the placement of the black silk lace. Leaving the erogenous zone open.

Tree Ball Gown 1955 named after Marietta Tree, the client whom this was designed for.

La Sirene Evening Dress 1951-52  made from a luscious ivory silk crepe. 

Ribbon dressing gown 1938- 40 made all from silk satin ribbons!

Ribbon ball gown1946 the skirt is made of a variety of different ribbons. So beautiful!

An Evening dress from 1945, peach silk Charmeuse
Interesting pleating detail across the front pelvis..... Hmmm. Interesting detail...

A selection of coats and wool garments
Cossack coat 1952, Dark brown wool Melton
Suit 1948, gray wool flannel
Coat ensemble early 1950's purple-brown brushed wool

Throughout the exhibits there were Charles James quotes on both the mirrored walls and the glass enclosures. I was very happy to see many of these also printed in the catalogue!

Some other areas of the museum. The view from the rooftop garden, the horses and knights in the hall of armor. A necklace from the modern jewelry exhibit and the temple of Dendur. 

And of course... A selfie out front with the Charles James exhibit banner and my bag of goodies. :)

I'm still daydreaming of all those delicious details from the exhibit!
Happy Sewing!

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