The Genius of Charles James

The Genius of Charles James
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Elizabeth Ann Coleman. Foreword by Michael Botwinick.

New York. The Brooklyn Museum & Holt, Rinehart and Winston. 1982. First edition. Buckram-bound hardback, dust jacket. 176 pages. Illustrated throughout in colour and b&w. 310 x 240mm (12 x 9"). 1.2kg. 0030625882. English. Very good; some slight browning, jacket has a few small nicks and short tears, no inscriptions, a very nice copy of a scarce title.

The scarce exhibition catalogue for the first major retrospective of fashion designer Charles James's work, held at the Brooklyn Museum in 1982.
The book is extensive and covers all aspects of James's life and oeuvre. The introduction includes short recollections from his famous clients and colleagues, including Diana Vreeland, Mainbocher, Balenciaga, Cecil Beaton, Halston and Sir Francis Rose. "The Clothes" uses illustrations from the great fashion magazines of the 1930s to 1950s, with photographs by Beaton, Horst, Hoyningen-Huene, John Rawlings, Dahl-Wolfe, Avedon, Blumenfeld, Henry Clark, etc., plus James's own drawings. "The Background" looks at the designer's early life and career, and at how he learnt to structure and cut his clothes. "The Man", written by his friend Bill Cunningham, examines his troubled life and his struggle with the fashion world. Personal testimonies by Austine Hearst and Anne, Countess of Rosse reveal James as "The Couturier".
'James's method ensured that his output would be limited, and in forty-five years he produced fewer than 1,000 designs. All known information on each extant garment is recorded here in "The Work," including each garment's construction, the fabrics (and variations) used in its manufacture, whom it was originally designed for, and who else acquired it.' (from the blurb).
The book ends with an extensive bibliography and a list of known clients.