Tag Archive | Charles James

Eye On Design: Down Filled Evening Jacket by Charles James

Down Filled Evening Jacket
All Photos By Gail

In 1937, Anglo-American couturier Charles James created the first high-fashion, down-filled jacket; an early James masterpiece. James meticulously constructed this classically inspired garment around the human form, resulting in a jacket quite unlike the boxy version produced by Eddie Bauer.

Model Wearing the Jacket
Photo of Model Wearing the Jacket

Soft and pliable, it was also dramatically different from James‘ own best known work: gowns as rigid as the hats he designed. The James jacket reappeared in the fashion press decades later. It then gained cult status and also may have inspired a number of New York designers who began to make their versions of the down-filled parka during the 1970s.

Down Filled Evening Jacket

Down Filled Evening Jacket by Charles James was photographed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in July 2014 (Top Photo) and in the Museum at FIT as part of the Exhibit, Expedition: Fashion from the Extreme, which closed January 6th, 2018.

Eye on Design: The Tree Evening Dress and The Petal Stole By Charles James

Tree Evening Dress
All Photos By Gail

With its petal-like stole, this evening gown, The Tree (1955),  transforms the wearer into a flower, giving her a sensual elegance. Couturier Charles James (1906 – 1978) often envisioned his clients as exotic flowers and he believed that fashion should arouse the mating instinct. Ooh!

Tree Evening Dress

Psychologist Nancy Etcoff writes, “Flowers are alluring landing strips for pollinating insects: They are the plant worlds sex objects.” Think about that next time you see  a flower.

Charles James 1946 By Irving Penn
Charles James, Photographed in 1946, By Irving Penn

Tree Evening Dress

Photographed as part of the Force of Nature Exhibit, on Through November 18th, 2017 at at The Museum at FIT, Located at the Southwest corner of Seventh Avenue and 27th Street, in NYC.

Update, September 9, 2018:

This outfit is currently part of the latest exhibit at the Museum at FIT, The History of Pink. Here are three additional photo of the dress that I took just yesterday!

Tree Dress and Petal Stole
Tree Dress and Petal Stole Installation View

Tree Dress and Petal Stole
Tree Dress and Petal Stole Rear View

Tree Dress and Petal Stole