Charles James, “Butterfly” Ball Gown, 1955
Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art

We were so excited at the announcement last week that the Spring/Summer 2014 Costume Institute exhibition at The Metropolitan Museum of Art will focus on the British-American designer Charles James (1906-1978). We knew very little of James and his work until 2010 with two great corresponding, simultaneous exhibitions at The Met (American Woman: Fashioning a National Identity) and the Brooklyn Museum (American High Style: Fashioning a National Collection) and the marvelous catalog that was created to compliment both, High Style by Jan Glier Reeder, that featured his designs prominently. The shows celebrated the merging of the museums’ two renowned costume collections in 2009 which, still identified separately, are housed together permanently at The Met. The Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art holds the largest collection of James’ work in the world which includes, in addition to the garments themselves, six hundred related materials such as sketches and patterns. With Millicent Rogers as his muse, James is best known for his exquisite couture gowns from the 1940s and 50s. But we love his day dresses, suits and coats from those decades just as much and have our fingers crossed that we’ll see a lot of those pieces as well in Charles James: Beyond Fashion opening May 8, 2014 — most definitely an exhibition well worth waiting for!