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Charles James: Portrait of an Unreasonable Man: Fame, Fashion, Art

Charles James: Portrait of an Unreasonable Man: Fame, Fashion, Art


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Inspired by the discovery of long-overlooked interviews conducted just before his death, this is the first biography of the visionary fashion designer Charles James.

Christian Dior described him as the inspiration for the “New Look.” Salvador Dalí called his work “soft sculpture,” and Virginia Woolf exclaimed, “He is a genius.”

As George Bernard Shaw tells us, only unreasonable men change the world. This portrait of the life and times of Charles James—winner of two Coty awards, and the subject of a 2014 Metropolitan Museum of Art show—draws on the glamour of Europe in the 1930s, and the dazzle of New York City from the ’40s through the ’70s as it travels with James from his birth to privilege in England in 1906 and follows his career through his complex and turbulent relationships with exceptional women such as Elsa Schiaparelli and Eleanor Lambert, ending with his penurious death in New York’s fabled Chelsea Hotel.

As engrossing as a novel, as dramatic as grand opera, James’s story will provoke, rivet, and inspire.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780847861453
Publisher: Rizzoli
Publication date: 03/20/2018
Pages: 254
Product dimensions: 6.40(w) x 9.40(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

The founder of joan vass U.S.A. and vice president of the Liberman Foundation, Michèle Gerber Klein has written about art and fashion for many publications and has served on several boards including the Dia Art Foundation and the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum.

Table of Contents

Foreword Harold Koda viii

Introduction How I Met Charles 1

1 In the Beginning: Between Europe and America 11

2 Art and Invention: Elsa Schiaparelli 33

3 Fairy Tales for the Future: Anne, Countess of Rosse 53

4 Setting Up Shop: Elizabeth Arden 73

5 Immortality: Millicent Rogers 89

6 Beyond Fashion: Modess, Andy Warhol, and Dominique de Menil 105

7 Apotheosis: Austine Hearst 123

8 Nemesis: Eleanor Lambert 141

9 The Last Muse: Nancy James 163

10 After All 185

Credits 216

Acknowledgments 217

Author's Note 218

Bibliography 219

Notes 233

Index 247

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