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

Date: 1952

Culture: American

Medium: silk

Credit Line: Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009; Gift of Muriel Bultman Francis, 1967

Accession Number: 2009.300.450a, b


Always experimenting with contrasts of fit and volume, James molded the bodice front of this cocktail dress to the body with long vertical bust darts, and left the back full to fall into a pleat secured at the waist. Conversely, the skirt front has a structured cantilevered hip yoke that causes it to stand away from the body, while the back is seamed to fit snugly over the hips until liberated by the loose drape of a center box pleat, giving swing to the back.