(Top left image: Austine Hearst in Charles James Clover Leaf Gown, 1953)For me the surprise of the exhibit came in the newly named Anna Wintour gallery (also the one space throughout the show that was well lit.) There you will find James' sketches, fully sewn muslins, personal photographs, sculptures and storyboards for the autobiography he continually worked on but never produced, also aptly titled "Beyond Fashion." Through his sketches (and later in the animated videos into the evening wear) I couldn't help but be reminded of the work of American couturier Ralph Rucci and the similarities in the architecture and engineering of their designs, as well as more recently the work of Zac Posen. Clearly James' work, some of which is nearly 70 years old continues to be an influence on designers.
(All images by Brooke Hagel unless otherwise noted.)