Charles James (American, born Great Britain, 1906–1978)
Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009; Gift of Mrs. Cornelius V. Whitney, 1953
Not on view
The Four-Leaf Clover dress is the most iconic of James' gowns and its construction is among the most complicated of all his dresses. This half-sewn muslin shows the design and construction process; it is similar to having an architect's model approaching the finished product.
The Charles James holdings include an extraordinary collection of sewn muslins and flat patterns that represent James' design process from original concept to the finished garment. At his behest, three of his most devoted clients, Millicent Huttleston Rogers, Mrs. John (Dominique) de Menil, and Mrs. William Randolph (Austine) Hearst, Jr., along with several others, donated this supporting material along with the actual garments. In some cases, the garments are accompanied by materials that represent all of James' design phases-two flat patterns (paper and muslin), and two sewn muslins (half and full).