PaperCity Magazine

May 2014 - Houston

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 27 of 71

RENEWED INTEREST Is the current reemergence of Charles James proof that we've met the tipping point for unstructured clothing (a style that can only be likened to "non-dressing"), or is the resurgence of interest mere happenstance? Contemporary ready to wear, both in America and abroad, seems uninterested in the evolved construction and high standards à la James. Yet designers such as Ralph Rucci have long been inspired by his creations, even though no one has truly evolved the ideas that James himself developed almost 75 years ago. Zac Posen perhaps distills the most James-like qualities relating to color and form, having imbued both his spring/ summer ready-to-wear and pre-fall collections with the delicate and unexpected hues, as well as intelligent and thoughtful construction. Of course, following both 2014 exhibitions, Charles James may finally achieve the level of appreciation that he always sought but never attained in his lifetime. WHAT A TANGLED WEB HE WOVE "A Thin Wall of Air: Charles James" The Menil Collection Curator: Susan Sutton Dates: May 31 – September 7, 2014 Information: Note: To further dissect the basis for this exhibition, the Menil will host a panel discussion Friday, May 30, amongst curator Susan Sutton, Lady Harlech, Harold Koda of the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute and William Middleton, who is currently writing a book on the de Menils that will be published by Knopf. "Charles James: Beyond Fashion" Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute Curator: Jan Glier Reeder with Harold Koda Dates: : May 8 – August 10, 2014 Information: Note: The museum has produced a companion volume, Charles James: Beyond Fashion (Metropolitan Museum of Art) by Harold Koda and Jan Glier Reeder, with a preface written by Ralph Rucci ($50 at metmuseum. org). The show also serves as the theme for the May 5 Met Ball, in which Vogue is intimately involved. TRIA GIOVAN Cecil Beaton captures Dominique, circa early 1970s, on a Rococo settee, its incorporation presumably the work of James, as she gazes towards Franz Kline's People Begin to Fly, 1961, which will be exhibited in the Menil exhibition. James' masterful color sense is evidenced in the hand-painted doors in Dominique's dressing room, paired with a saffron brocade dinner jacket and her own dress form. Antechamber between the living room and children's rooms in the Menil House, 1940s. One of two wool-covered Lipstick sofas. The Max Ernst portrait of Mrs. de Menil, circa 1934, above the fireplace is part of the exhibition. This storage-closet door features more a painting than a painted door. The house predates the invention of paint rollers; everything James painted was done by hand. Considered James' muse, Millicent Rogers would establish the initial museum holdings of James' work. James' lifelong friend Cecil Beaton not only financially enabled James to create, but collected his work. Cristóbal Balen- ciaga hailed James as "not only the greatest American coutu- rier, but also the world's best." French designer Paul Poiret saw James as his heir, telling James, "I pass you my crown. Wear it well." James and Halston, both originally milliners, attempted collaboration, with disastrous results. James crossed paths with and dressed some of the 20th century's most notable personages. (Here, he personally models a creation — as he was known to do.) Christian Dior proclaimed James "the greatest talent of my generation." Dior also cited James as the inspira- tion for his "new look." French artist Christian Bérard was both a member of James' Parisian circle and col- laborator. The equally visionary Antonio Lopez docu- mented James' work in his final years. Babe Paley, one of Capote's swans, was one of James' more prized clients. Noël Coward, along with Cecil Beaton, helped James set up his first hat shop in Chicago. Austine Hearst (wife of William Randolph Hearst) wore her 50-pound Four- Leaf Clover Gown, circa 1953, to both President Eisenhower's inaugural ball and Queen Elizabeth II's coronation ball. WILLIAM ABRAMAWICZ FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES HESTER + HARDAWAY PHOTO BY CECIL BEATON, COURTESY THE MENIL ARCHIVES PHOTO BY ROGER-VIOLLET/GETTY IMAGES, 1927. RA/LEBRECHT MUSIC & ARTS, 1925 HALSTON & WARHOL: SILVER & SUEDE (ABRAMS, 2014) COURTESY METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART, PHOTOGRAPHER UNKNOWN, © BETTMANN/CORBIS COURTESY PAUL CARANICAS, © ESTATE OF ANTONIO LOPEZ AND JUAN RAMOS CECIL BEATON BY CECIL BEATON, 1930S, NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY, LONDON PHOTOGRAPH BY HORST P. HORST/CONDÉ NAST ARCHIVE. © BETTMANN/CORBIS, 1950 NOËL COWARD AT WATERLOO STATION, 1937 HENRI CARTIER-BRESSON'S CHRISTIAN BEARD, 1935 METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART, PHOTO JOHN RAWLINGS/ VOGUE/CONDÉ NAST ARCHIVE. © CONDÉ NAST HESTER + HARDAWAY

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of PaperCity Magazine - May 2014 - Houston