Charles James Selected As Focus Of 2014 Costume Institute Exhibit

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The Costume Institute will honor couturier, Charles James, with its 2014 spring exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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"Charles James: Beyond Fashion" will take place from May 8 to August 10. Costume Institute curator Harold Koda told WWD that the exhibit name was actually taken from the designer, who died in 1978. "Beyond Fashion" served as the tentative title for his autobiography. The museum will also debut its renovated galleries at the Costume Institute gala, which is slated for May 5.

It's possible that some audiences may be unfamiliar with James and his work, but the Costume Institute has not shied away from celebrating perhaps more obscure, though deeply important, designers. Known for his structural creations, James was born and raised in England. He started as a hatmaker in Chicago and later turned to dressmaking in New York. James eventually dressed socialites, including the likes of Gypsy Rose Lee.

The New York Times reported that James was the subject of an exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum in 1982. In 2009, the Costume Institute acquired the Brooklyn Museum's collection and began restoring James' creations, giving way to the 2014 exhibition. The show will include 100 pieces spanning over James' career, from the late 1920s to the late 1970s.

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