A Sketch a Day

337: Charles James

337 1

Today, the talented and famous Julie Mollo and I are donning our best fanny packs and North Face to play tourists on Museum Mile. That’s right, it’s Costume Institute season at the Met, and just have we have almost every year since 2006, we’re checking out the exhibit- this year, it’s focused on Charles James, the fashion iconoclast known for eschewing deadlines and seasons in favor of obsessively reworking his complex designs. Today’s sketch is a quick drawing of one of his iconic works, the Swan ballgown. It seemed only fitting to omit a body- after all, James stated that “The feminine figure is intrinsically wrong.” What a charmer.

Back in my Pratt days, when no one really cared about the Costume Institute, our professors frequently assigned sketching assignments to be completed in the exhibit. It’s hard to imagine doing that now, with the shoulder-to-shoulder crowds and insane lines (thanks, Alexander McQueen). I don’t know if I’ll be able to do that today- but at the very least, I know that I’ll walk away inspired, in the way that is only possible by being in close proximity to masterful clothes.