Enchanted by Sewing, The Podcast

Enchanted by Sewing,  The Podcast
An audio extension of my regular blog, Me Encanta Coser/Enchanted by Sewing (http://MeEncantaCoser.blogspot.com)

Monday, August 10, 2015

Ench By Sew-35:Enchanted by Charles James - 20'th Century Fashion History




The Charles James Ribbon Gown - Muslin in the background
Enchanted by Charles James - Stepping into a liminal space to study and enjoy glorious fashion designs and analyze the construction of those garments is the kind of thing that keeps me … enchanted by sewing.

Hey let’s go to the show together! To do that you can either download the ‘cast from iTunes - Click on this link to iTunes  , 
*OR* listen directly on the web, by clicking on this link


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  Some months the Enchanted by Sewing podcast, journals my own sewing project accomplishments, techniques and creative ideas. Other times I share the source of  some of my sewing inspiration. This month is inspiration time, as I take you along on an another in-the-,moment fashon exhibit - a visit to the beautiful Legion of Honor Museum in San Francisco , where I went repeatedly to  view the exhibit, High Style: The Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection  exhibit of the Brooklyn Fashion Museum.

This collection – which is housed  and curated by the Metropoliton Museum of Art  in NY City- includes a wide range of the work of 20’th century designers and couturiers.

There was no way I could share all of what I saw with you.

By my third visit, I realized that , despite the charms of designers and coturiers in the exhibit- Elsa Schiaparelli and Madeleine Vionnet, just to name a few of the big names, and some that have been almost forgotten- the hands-down winner for sharing with you, was Charles James. That’s because James, and his clients and admirers, worked to see to it, that more than his beautiful garments were saved in this collection, to motivate and educate future sewists, designers and couturiers. This historical treasure trove includes sketches and muslins which really tell the story of how he worked, and what went into the garments he fashioned. They are an inspiration for the creative process.

The body of Charles James work extends from the 1930s into the1950s. The garments he designed, constructed and created were worn by high society types like  Austine Hearst, the wife of Mr. William Randolph Hearst, Jr., Millicent Rogers and Mrs. Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney. They were also made for women with less blue blood like Jeanne Bultman the wife of the artist Fritz Bultman, and Gypsy Rose Lee!

James didn’t just sketch up a gown and expect others to produce it. He worked in the true couture tradition (some say the only American designer who did). He draped fabric in complex ways to get what he was after. Often he created specialized support systems under his gowns, to enhance and extend their third dimensions . Charles James also used fabric in studied ways working with color, light and reflectivity in addition to the hang or drape of the material. He also focused on developing seaming techniques that molded the fabric into directions he wanted it to move.

I’ll be blogging more about Charles James garments I saw at this exhibit over time . You’ll find those in the podcast show notes and at my regular blog, MeEncantaCoser.blogspot.com. So if you find Charles James as appealing as I do, subscribe to the podcast show notes or Me Encanta Coser to be notified about new James postings.


Show at the Legion of Honor in San Francisco http://legionofhonor.famsf.org/legion/announcements/collecting-fashion-20th-century-couture-costume-and-textile-arts-collection?utm_source=Fine+Arts+Museums+of+San+Francisco+E-Mail+List&utm_campaign=e68929bce3-15_3_4_e_news_general&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_9757c5111b-e68929bce3-85610377

Other SF show links
https://legionofhonor.famsf.org/highstyle

https://legionofhonor.famsf.org/highstyle/about

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The Entire (over 400 items) Charles James Collection is Freely Available and Searchable Online at the Metropolitan Museum - Brooklyn Costume Collection. This collection includes not only beautiful garments, but muslins and design sketches James created along the way.
http://www.metmuseum.org/collection/the-collection-online/search?&ft=charles+james&what=Costume&pg=1

A few Example Links in the above collection - Use this link to do your own searching

Muslin for the Ribbon Gown  http://www.metmuseum.org/search-results?ft=charles+james+muslin+ribbon


Charles James Fashion Sketches

Clover leaf Ball Gown Sketches



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