DESIGNERS AND COLLECTIONS

PUBLISHER
Spector Books

BOOK FORMAT
Paperback, 8.75 x 11.5 in. / 398 pgs / 406 color / 63 bw.

PUBLISHING STATUS
Pub Date
Active

DISTRIBUTION
D.A.P. Exclusive
Catalog: SPRING 2019 p. 83   

PRODUCT DETAILS
ISBN 9783959052382 TRADE
List Price: $85.00 CDN $115.00

AVAILABILITY
In stock

BROWSE THE 2019 FALL CATALOG

Preview our Fall 2019 catalog, featuring more than 500 new books on art, photography, design, architecture, film, music and visual culture.

  

SPECTOR BOOKS

Charles James: The Couture Secrets of Shape

Edited by Homer Layne, Dorothea Mink. Preface by Rick Owens. Text by Valerie Steele, R. Couri Hay, Paul Caranicas, Carolin Roider, Charles James.

Featured image is reproduced from 'Charles James: The Couture Secrets of Shape.'

Avant-garde designs from “America's First Couturier”

British-American designer Charles James (1906–78), “America’s First Couturier,” is famed for the extraordinarily elegant evening gowns he created in the 1930s through the 1950s for society ladies on both sides of the Atlantic. From the beginning of his career, James also designed revolutionary unisex styles. The famous eiderdown evening jacket, designed in 1937 for women, was revived as a cult unisex design object in 1970s New York. The eiderdown jacket and James’ other unisex designs share with his ball gowns a sculptural, architectural presence and a rigorously cerebral design process grounded in science and mathematics. James is regarded as a visionary thinker in the world of fashion, introducing lasting innovations in both technique and methodology.

Charles James: The Couture Secrets of Shape goes beyond the evening gowns, focusing on some of James’ unisex designs and his life in the artist community at the Chelsea Hotel, where he lived from 1964 until his death in 1978. He remained restlessly creative in this period, his rooms at the Chelsea serving as a studio, workshop, and archive. In 1973 he wrote The Charles James Approach to Structural Design; this allowed a glimpse into his thinking at that time and is included in this publication in facsimile. Edited by Homer Layne, James’ last assistant, and Professor Dorothea Mink, with a preface by fashion designer Rick Owens, this volume reveals a new facet of James’ groundbreaking body of work.


Featured image is reproduced from 'Charles James: The Couture Secrets of Shape.'

PRAISE AND REVIEWS

Vogue

Suzy Menkes

In the Joyce Gallery celebrating a new book about the English-American couturier Charles James, there was one archetypal dress: sculpted and elegantly shaped, it was the epitome of timeless elegance.

Bookforum

Jennifer Krasinski

The Couture Secrets of Shape proves how ahead- still ahead- James was of the times.

Arcana

Charles James: The Couture Secrets of Shape goes beyond the evening gowns, focusing on some of James’ unisex designs and his life in the artist community at the Chelsea Hotel.

New York Review of Books

Jeffrey Felner

Charles James: The Couture Secrets of Shape is a brilliant combination of text and visuals [...] The reader will be made privy to exactly how this incredibly intelligent and obsessive man created some of fashion’s most iconic and revered dresses, coats, and gowns.

Quest

Kathryn Maier

[Charles James: The Couture Secrets of Shape] delves deeply into the specifics of James’ garment design and construction—even showing how to create his perfect dress forms—and includes a plethora of archival photographs.

CR Fashion Book

Sophie Shaw

Charles James: The Couture Secrets of Shape consists of 400 pages dedicated to James' androgynous fashions and the highly detailed design process behind them.

Arlis/NA Reviews

Alyssa Vincent

For those who cannot time-travel to past museum exhibitions,... this impressive volume acts as a kind of portable James archive and technical design manual.

Vogue:Germany

Lea Egerer

Charles James counts as the first American couturier, having captured attention in the 1930's with extravagant evening wear and revolutionary Unisex styles.

Charles James: The Couture Secrets of Shape

in stock  $85.00


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FROM THE ARTBOOK BLOG

CORY REYNOLDS | DATE 3/16/2019

'Charles James: The Couture Secrets of Shape' talk and signing at FIT

'Charles James: The Couture Secrets of Shape' talk and signing at FIT

Wednesday, March 20 at 6PM, The Museum at FIT presents Dorothea Mink, professor of fashion design at the University of Arts, Bremen, and Homer Layne for a presentation of Charles James: The Couture Secrets of Shape, their fascinating book on the renowned British-American designer who died in 1978. Layne—James's assistant for almost a decade—and Mink analyze the great designer's remarkable innovations, revealing what made his designs so special, and suggest how designers today can apply James's principles to their own work. Book signing to follow.
continue to blog


FROM THE ARTBOOK BLOG

REILLY DAVIDSON | DATE 5/16/2019

'Charles James: The Couture Secrets of Shape' should be required reading for anyone interested in the evolution of design

'Charles James: The Couture Secrets of Shape' should be required reading for anyone interested in the evolution of design

The iconic shapes of American couturier Charles James transcend those of any other house of his time—or the present, for that matter. Relentlessly creative and open-minded, James famously lived at the Chelsea Hotel from 1964 until his death in 1978, paving the way for future generations of cross-pollination and experimentation in the arena of couture; today, he is rightly counted among the ranks of legends such as Christian Dior and Coco Chanel. New from Spector Books, Charles James: The Couture Secrets of Shape is a beautifully designed, 398-page exploration of the designer's enigmatic life, from the perspective of his collaborators, those who have drawn inspiration from him, and the writings and archives of James himself. With more than 400 color reproductions, a facsimile of his 1973 manual, The Charles James Approach to Structural Design, instructions for making patterns and forms, and in-depth texts by such noted contributors as Valerie Steele, Dorothea Mink, Carolin Roider, Rick Owens and Homer Layne (James’ last assistant), this massive, one-of-a-kind volume should be required reading for anyone interested in the evolution of design. Not to mention, the overall construction of the book makes it perfect for any fashion lover’s coffee table! Featured photograph, by Juan Ramos at the Everson Museum in Syracuse, New York, captures James with model Jerry Hall wearing the silk crepe scarf dress in 1975. continue to blog


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