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Charles James, 1952. Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Photograph by Michael A. Vaccaro / LOOK Magazine Photograph Collection, Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, Look Job 52-1129 Frame-18

The genius of couturier Charles James was almost lost to the threads of time, an all too common occurrence with some of history’s most accomplished yet eccentric figures. From his revolutionary designs and his scandalous sexual affairs to a famous friendship-turned-rivalry that marked the beginning of his unanticipated downward spiral, James a figure shrouded in both opulence and mystery, even to those who knew him best.

In an attempt to unravel the myths of his past, The Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art launched the “Charles James: Beyond Fashion” exhibit last summer where a handpicked selection of James’ most iconic and innovative designs were openly displayed for one of the first times since his death, giving a new generation a peek into the rise and fall of a legendary designer.

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