23 Captivating Charles James Quotes

Considered to be one of the most legendary twentieth-century Anglo-American couturier, Charles James was known for his design process of using sculptural and mathematical approaches to construct revolutionary ball gowns. Here is a look at some of the most memorable Charles James quotes to share.

“A great designer does not seek acceptance. He challenges popularity, and by the force of his convictions renders popular in the end what the public hates at first sight.”

“All creative work begins by doing something with the hands. Creation is simply a problem and design is the way out.”

“All my seams have meaning – they emphasize something about the body.”

“All political power is a trust.”

“Bonfire of the Vanities: The lesson of that book is, never start believing your own press.”

“Cut in dressmaking is like grammar in language. A good design should be like a well made sentence and it should only express one idea at a time.”

“Fashion, after all, is magic and miracle…intended to bestow proportion and beauty where both have been lost or faded with the years.”

“How much the greatest event it is that ever happened in the world! And how much the best!”

“I recognize that virtually every company that comes in here has a perspective. It’s often not difficult to understand why they have the perspective that they have.”

“I spent my life making fashion an art form.”

“In fashion even what seems most fragile must be built on cement.”

“It is intolerable that it should be in the power of one blockhead to do so much mischief.”

“Kings govern by popular assemblies only when they cannot do without them.”

“Marriage: The most expensive way to get your laundry done.”

“My dresses help women discover figures they didn’t know they had.”

“So perverse is mankind that every nationality prefers to be misgoverned by its own people than to be well ruled by another.”

“The best design reveals itself during a long fatiguing process of digging into the subconscious.”

“The best way to quiet a country is a good thrashing, followed by great kindness afterwards. Even the wildest chaps are thus tamed.”

“The human mind is never better disposed to gratitude and attachment than when softened by fear.”

“The standard formulation on remedy is that it ought to cure past violations and prevent their recurrence. That’s what antitrust is all about.”

“The worst of revolutions is a restoration.”

“There are not many original shapes or silhouettes — only a million variations.”

“You should know that my most important contribution was always in tailoring; coats, jackets, wool dresses… so few of which went into the magazines.”

Here is an exhibition held for Charles James at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. This features some of his most highly regarded designs and showcases some of the best styles from his generation.

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