I studied Charles James' work at school but this show takes the exploration of his couture work to the next level. In the first exhibition room, select gowns, for which James is most known, are accompanied by a computer screen. The screen tells the story of the dress and plays an animation of each and every pattern piece that makes the gown. James, who often perceived himself a sculptor of fashion, was a master technician. He understood the fabric and manipulated it in amazing ways. A camera beam, linked to the information on the computer screen, highlights these sculptural elements and fabric treatments directly on the displayed item.
The second room highlights James' earlier work, in particular, his masterfully constructed coats. Quotes by the designer surround the display and give an insightful look into his life and fashion philosophy. "Brancusi has his medium; Picasso, Faulkner, Shostakovich, theirs. Mine happens to be cloth." is one of them. Again, screens accompany the garments on display and complete the visual story presented to the museum's visitor. Pattern pieces and 3D models come alive and shed light on James' unparalleled technical skills.
If you find your way to New York City, check out the show. It is a delight!