Iconic Looks from American Couturier Charles James

Revolutionary couture.

charles james couture
This year's Met Gala is dedicated to American couturier Charles James, who was without question one of the most important designers of the 20th century. During his 50-year career, which began in the '20s and lasted until his death in 1978, he was best known for his sumptuous ball gowns — voluminous, waist-cinching numbers so sweeping they practically defied gravity. Here, we've highlighted some of his most indelible creations to prep you for the much-anticipated evening in his honor.
1 of 18
Corbis
Charles James

Charles James with a model, 1948.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
2 of 18
Corbis
Charles James
A model in a Charles James peplum suit, 1948.
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
3 of 18
Corbis
Charles James
Model Dorian Leigh in a Charles James gown, 1948.
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
4 of 18
Corbis
Charles James
A model in a Charles James evening gown, 1948.
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
5 of 18
Corbis
Charles James
Melissa Weston is a Charles James satin ball gown, 1948.
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
6 of 18
Corbis
Charles James
Jennifer Hones in a Charles James petal dress, 1952.
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
7 of 18
Corbis
Charles James
A model in a Charles James high-waisted dress, 1956.
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
8 of 18
Corbis
Charles James
A model wearing a Charles James silk dress, 1956.
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
9 of 18
Corbis
Charles James
A model wearing a Charles James silk dress, 1956.
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
10 of 18
Corbis
Charles James
Charles James with models wearing his collection, 1950.
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
11 of 18
Corbis
Charles James
A model backstage at a Charles James fashion show, 1950.
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
12 of 18
Corbis
Charles James
Charles James and Mrs. Howard Reilly
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
13 of 18
Corbis
Charles James
Charles James with models wearing his collection, 1950.
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
14 of 18
Corbis
Charles James
A model backstage at a Charles James fashion show, 1950.
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
15 of 18
Corbis
Charles James
A model in a Charles James sealskin coat, 1953.
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
16 of 18
Corbis
Charles James
Models in Charles James gowns at French & Company.
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
17 of 18
Corbis
A model in a Charles James gown designed for the 12th annual Coty American Fashion critics, 1954.
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
18 of 18
Corbis
Charles James
Gypsy Rose Lee wearing a Charles James gown in the March of Dimes annual fashion show, 1955.
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
More From Fashion