Charles James: Beyond Fashion

Several of James's shorter coat dresses are on display aside a monitor showcasing the construction of the designer's figure-eight dress, a concept that introduced both modesty and freedom of movement into eveningwear.

Allegedly, James first conceived it by cutting a crescent shape in the center of the long end of a beach towel, centering it between the legs, and wrapping them in the form of a figure eight. In this more resolved version, the two sides of the fabric wrap counterclockwise around the body, causing the hem to form a figure eight.

Source: Metropolitan Museum of Art

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