Ball gown

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

Date: 1954

Culture: American

Medium: silk

Credit Line: Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009; Gift of Jean de Menil, 1955

Accession Number: 2009.300.3522


James designed this dramatic gown a year after his "Four-Leaf Clover" ball gown, an engineering and sculptural masterpiece featuring an undulating four-lobed skirt flounce (2009.300.779). Here, he spiraled an equally sculptural flounce around the body from upper hip to hem, not unlike the spiraling skirt of the brown taffeta cocktail dress also illustrated here (2009.300.213), achieving a structure whose form changes from every vantage point.