Chicago History Museum presents Charles James: Genius Deconstructed, opening October 22, 2011. This exhibition provides an incredible opportunity to experience the work of distinguished American couture fashion designer Charles James. Described by the Parisian design world as the greatest courtier of his time, Charles James remains a compelling influence in the fashion industry nearly 40 years after his death.
One of the twentieth century’s most remarkable fashion minds, James was most recognized for his unique ability to balance an artist’s intuition with precision and technical skill. While surviving examples of James’ work are rare, this exhibition features 17 of his most iconic designs from 1928 to 1958. With one of the top costume collections in the world, the Chicago History Museum houses one of the most extensive and representative collections of James’ designs.
Charles James launched his career as a premier fashion designer while living in Chicago in the 1920s. Throughout his life, Charles James designed for the city’s best dressed. He was known to have many high-profile clients, including Coco Chanel. James was most well known for his dresses, which became some of his most extraordinary pieces. The fashion industry was captivated by his gorgeous dress designs, showcasing extravagant cuts and dramatic silhouettes.
In order to get inside the creative and brilliant mind of Charles James, the Chicago History Museum worked to uncover secrets held by some of his most prominent pieces. Through close scrutiny, sketches, photography, x-rays and recreations, the museum has achieved unique copies of three James garments, including a 1930s evening gown, the Clover and the Tree. Deconstruction Genius allows the audience to deconstruct his process and his designs as well.
View a slideshow of Charles James’s work.
The Chicago History Museum is a cultural landmark in the city that stands at the crossroads of our country’s past, present and future. The museum showcases and interprets millions of authentic pieces of Chicago and American history. A monument to the city’s dynamic history, the Chicago History Museum illuminate the past while informing the future.
The Chicago History Museum is located at 1601 North Clark Street. Open Monday through Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Sunday 12 to 5 p.m.
For additional information, call 312.642.4600 or visit Chicago History Museum.
Emmaline Niendorf is an Integrated Marketing Associate with Otherwise Incorporated.