Art/ Collection/ Art Object
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Cocktail dress

Designer:
Charles James (American, born Great Britain, 1906–1978)
Date:
ca. 1944
Culture:
American
Medium:
silk
Credit Line:
Polaire Weissman Fund, 1997
Accession Number:
1997.193.1
Not on view
Although the bodice of this dress has center front, center back, and side seams, its second-skin fit was accomplished by molding the bust à calage (steaming in the shape) and using back shoulder darts. The body of the dress has center front and center back seams. A long dart curves from under the arm over the front hipbone and into the low front cowl. With its high neckline, shoulder line extending into a cap sleeve, and sheathlike fit, this James design suggests the exotic influence of the Chinese qi pao, a style promoted at the time by another American couturier, Mainbocher, on his client Wallis, the Duchess of Windsor.
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