Designer: Charles James (American, born Great Britain, 1906–1978)

Date: 1946

Culture: American

Medium: rayon/wool, silk

Credit Line: Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009; Gift of Arturo and Paul Peralta-Ramos, 1954

Accession Number: 2009.300.1187


Alternating sections of supple gleaming charmeuse, crisp shimmering taffeta, and stiff matte faille determine the shape, movement, and visual appeal of this ball gown. Elaborating on the concept of his early garments constructed from antique silk ribbons, James used lengths of fabric to construct the skirt of this dress. The variance in weight, drape, and light-reflective properties add multidimensional effects to a dress meant for motion. The vanishing-point taper of the gores from hem to waist back exemplify James' virtuoso seaming techniques and affinity for attenuated forms.