Exhibit will feature pricey evening gowns

Kristen Kotz

An exhibition of the works of fashion designer Charles James is coming to the Kent State University Fashion Museum.

James’s works will be showcased at the museum beginning May 31.

The exhibit will feature 11 evening gowns from the designer. Museum curator Anne Bissonnette said a gown by James can be worth $25,000 or more.

“The gowns we have are in the most demand,” she said. “They are rare and in good condition.”

Two dresses in the collection are the butterfly dress and the four-leaf clover dress.

Both are strapless – the butterfly dress with gold fabric and netting in the back, and the four-leaf clover dress is white with a band of black velvet around it. The latter got its name because the shape of the skirt resembles a four-leaf clover, Bissonnette said.

“They are the types of things that people who love fashion eat up,” she said. “They are extremely theatrical and well-engineered. If you are going to create sculpture garments, you have to be aware of his work.”

James is known in the historical fashion world for his elaborate shapes and designs and for having constructed architectural works, Bissonnette said.

James was born in Britain and later moved to the United States, where he spent the majority of his career in New York.

The gowns will be on display until Feb. 17, 2008. The Fashion Museum is open Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4:45 p.m., Thursday from 10 a.m. to 8:45 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 4:45 p.m. Admission is $5 for adults, $4 for senior citizens and $3 for students and children 7 to 18. Kent State students and faculty with ID, children under 7 and general admission on Sunday are all free.

Contact fashion reporter Kristen Kotz at [email protected].