From the late 1920s until his retirement in 1957, Charles James was a fashion designer. His initial training was in millinery, and one of his trademarks was the use of millinery ribbons on his clothing. James spent time working in London and Paris before relocating to New York in 1940. He dressed members of high society and prominent Hollywood figures, boasting that his clothing was among the most expensive in the entire world. James became one of the first American fashion designers to gain recognition abroad.
James was renowned for creating sculptural, moulded clothing. He used wire and padding, much like an engineer would, to create dresses that could stand on their own. He had a thorough understanding of historical attire and a passion for the full, corseted styles of the 1860s, which he incorporated into his décolleté evening gowns. These were made of pricey satins and silks and ruched, puffy, and swagged. James cut a lot of his clothes on the bias and even made dresses out of fabric spirals.
James designed a white satin jacket in 1938 that had channels filled with eiderdown padding and was heavily padded. It is frequently cited as the precursor of both today’s ski clothing and the quilted jackets worn by the US Air Force during World War II.
Henry Varnum Poor (designer) – Wikipedia. (2015, August 17). Henry Varnum Poor (Designer) – Wikipedia. Retrieved December 31, 2022, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Varnum_Poor_(designer)
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