Tuesday, August 11, 2009

carnal symmetry in 25 yards of peau de soie

Remembering Charles James. (1906-1978) A somewhat forgotten superstar of fashion.

Here are a few numbers:
200 - number of dresses Charles James designed in his life.
1 - time he got drunk with his pal Halston and threw a plate at policeman.
Several - times he delivered late gowns.
Several - times he delivered his creations after dancing in it all night.
3 - Prizes won . One refused because the fashion system was not equal/moral.
1 - Declaration by Balenciaga. "He's the best couturier in the world".
Charles James was born in London. His father was an English military officer, while his mother came from a socially prominent Chicago family. After he was expelled from Harrow as the result of a sexual escapade, his family packed him off to Chicago to work. Not long after, he began his career as milliner. His shop at 1209 North State Street was called Charles Boucheron, the surname borrowed from a school friend. Two years later he moved to New York City and began designing dresses with the same sculptural sense that characterized his millinery. “Charles James is not only the greatest American couturier, but the world’s best and only dressmaker who has raised it from an applied art form to a pure art form,” declared the great Spanish couturier, Cristóbal Balenciaga. (and you know how we love him)

His famous “butterfly Dress,” www.flickr.com/photos/chicagohistory/2967815278/ originally created for Mrs. William Randolph Hearst Jr. in 1954, is made of 25 yards of peau de soie and nylon net, the dress weighs 18 pounds. Its most notable features are structured side wings and a back bustle skirt. The Chicago History Museum has more than a dozen dresses by Charles James, many of which were donated only a few years after they were first worn, possibly because they were so difficult to store.
Galliano Daiquiri
1 oz gold rum
3/4 oz Galliano® herbal liqueur
juice of 1/2 limes
1/2 oz sugar syrup
Shake briefly with a glassful of crushed ice, and pour into a frosted cocktail glass. Garnish with a slice of lime, and serve.

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