In the world of American High Fashion, particularly the rare realm of Haute Couture, Charles James is the gold standard. Here in the United States where there have been such few Couturier such as an Oleg Cassini, Arnold Scassi, and James Galanos, Mr. James remains a virtually isolated example of the Art of Haute Couture practiced in this country. His creations were of such exceptional craftsmanship that he inspired the likes of French Couturier's CRISTOBAL BALENCIAGA and CHRISTIAN DIOR.
To date, this exhibition catalog remains the definitive look at the work of Mr. James highlighting both the highs and lows of this Master. It is filled with glorious images of his work and details of his process, the latter of which was what prevented him from reaching the ultimate heights of Haute Couture, the business of Fashion, and a thriving Ready-to-Wear concern. He was his own worst critic and enemy, taking too long within the confines of commerce to deliver a completed dress and often times, being the perfectionist he was, taking-back a delivered creation to re-work it, or worse, deliver the same creation to another patron.
Mr. James was that rare talent so missing from the present landscape of mediocrities and pseudo-designers such as Sean John, Beyonce, or Jessica Simpson. One of Mr. James' creations is worth the entire output of so many, especially the likes of the aforementioned.
This volume is an essential for anyone's library and is a joy to read and treasure.
With the growing renewed interest in the work of Mr. James, perhaps, RIZZOLI will create a sumptuous new volume, at least, I hope so.