Charles James (American, born Great Britain, 1906–1978)
Purchase, Costume Institute Benefit Fund, Friends of The Costume Institute Gifts, and Acquisitions Fund, 2013
Not on view
In this long-sleeved example of his trompe l’oeil gilet (or vest) dress, James extended the front neckline in two triangles to crisscross like a softly draped scarf. The ivory velveteen front bodice panel extends across the small of the back to form a surplicelike waist cinch. The sleeves, velveteen at the front and black silk crepe at the back, are stitched into a wide flange that runs from the elbow to the back neckline and folds over at the shoulders. This was likely one of James’s four day dresses for Viyella.