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Charles James

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About the Author

Michele Gerber Klein is the founder of joan vass U.S.A. and is now Vice President of the Liberman Foundation. She has written about art, fashion and arts de vivre for a wide variety of publications. She has served on the boards of the Dia Foundation for the Arts, the New Museum of Contemporary Art, The Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian National Design Museum, The Museum at FIT, The Alliance Francaise, New Arts Publications, Casita Maria, Chez Bushwick, the Brooklyn Rail, The New York Landmarks Preservation Foundation and Fondatzione Bogliasco. She chairs the Whitney Museum of American Art's library committee and is a member of the Architecture and Design and the Photography Acquisition Committees at the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan and the Photography Acquisition Committee at the The Whitney Museum of American Art.


"A luscious expos of a game-changing designer who revolutionized the fashion industry. In her debut biography, Klein, the founder of joan vass USA, introduces readers to Charles James (1906-1978), the notoriously fabulous British-born fashion designer who sought to incorporate countless areas of study into the art of fashion. Self-described as "a legend because my work is too little known," James started making waves in the fashion industry in the 1930s. "There were never more than a handful of Charles James matrix designs," writes the author. "But each one is a masterpiece, developed with painstaking care and slowness, and so beautifully calibrated that one small change could throw everything off balance." This close attention to pristine detail is what set James apart from the other aspiring designers. More specifically, it was due to his wild imagination for new ways of stitching fabric together and his wide social network. Klein organizes the chapters according to specific people who influenced James or with whom James went into business, drew inspiration from, or loved. Interestingly, Klein pushes the biographical genre by writing about her subject through the stories of those who surrounded him. " --Kirkus Reviews "James seems to have met, befriended, loved, or reviled most of the 20th century's great fashion and style makers, from Paul Poiret to Antonio Lopez, and this book is a who's who of those glittering, fascinating characters. The impossible Mr. James emerges as one of the most compelling of them all." --Hamish Bowles, "Peppered with society drama, his patrician connections, and the financial and personal pitfalls that haunted him, she also memorializes the remarkable women that inspired the creative genius of James. The author draws on close to 40 hours of interviews--filmed by Anton Perich, with R. Couri Hay and James in 1977--shortly before his death." --Jeena Sharma, Interview Magazine "I loved this book, and could not help but admire the man's exquisite if sometimes detrimental resistance to compromise, right to the end." --Denis Ferrara, New York Social Diary

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