Cover image of the Met Museum's exhibition catalogue, Charles James: Beyond Fashion, (available at Museum Bookstore)

Charles James: Beyond Fashion

Regular price £34.95
'Harold Koda’s detailed examination of James’s creative process and his oeuvre reveals the designer’s true genius…This book is beautiful. The printed canvas cover cleverly opens to endpapers printed with James’s canvas toile. The photographs are bold and alluring… But the real merit in this book is the sheer breadth of its source material and the depth of its examination. .. Even the most unyielding reader will be unable to resist its appeal.' - The Journal of The Costume Society    Charles James: Beyond Fashion at the Met - gallery view

Charles James, often considered to be America’s first couturier, was renowned in the 1940s and 1950s as a master at creating original, complex and glamorous fashions. This richly illustrated book of the inaugural exhibition of the newly renovated Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art offers a comprehensive study of James’ life and work, highlighting his inventiveness as well as his influence on subsequent fashion designers.

Featuring new photography of the spectacular evening dresses James produced between 1947 and 1955, this publication includes details of these intricate creations alongside vintage photographs and rarely seen archival items, such as patterns, muslins, dress forms, and sketches. A detailed and illustrated chronology of James’ life describes his unorthodox design processes, his supporters—such as Salvador Dalí, Elsa Schiaparelli, Christian Dior, and Cristobal Balenciaga—and profiles of a number of his famous clients, such as Gypsy Rose Lee. 

A preview of the book is available here.

  • Authors: Harold Koda, Ralph Rucci, Jan Glier Reeder, Sarah Scaturro, Glenn Petersen
  • Hardcover: 300 pages
  • Date published:  April 2014
  • Language: English
  • ISBN: 978-0300204360
  • Product Dimensions: 34.9 x 26 x 3.8 cm

Explore this exhibition in more detail with our pinterest board which features images of exhibits, installation views, videos of the show and press reviews.