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Join the fashion elite at the Chicago History Museum from now to mid-April and check out Chicago native Charles James Genius Deconstructed exhibit! Imagine yourself in these vintage gowns and take notice to the fine architecture and craftsmanship brought to you by Charles James.Born in 1906 James has astounded the fashion world by creating incredibly crafty and perfectly detailed garments. A young James taught himself everything he knows about creating garments, from fitting hats to glamorous gowns. With extreme ingenuity and the eye for fashion, James opened his first hat shop in Chicago at the age of 19. His garments are often adorned with ribbed corsets and fancy collars, and more often than not cascade down and outward. James has always had high profile celebrities like Coco Chanel pining after his creations. Marisa Tomei recently rocked out in a vintage gothic Charles James piece earlier this year at the Oscars, and Angelina Jolie wore an elegant gray tight fitted James dress in the Tourist shortly after.

Over 40 years after his death the History Museum is showcasing over a dozen beautiful designs. Sure to inspire you and drive your creativity, the exhibit will display gorgeous classic designs and appealing images. The museum staff went as far as to give a vintage dress a CT scan to see the interior design and architecture of the dress, and they discovered that he created his dresses the same way he created hats! The bodice was created as if it were the crown of the hat, while the skirt was from the brim. His ability to teach himself how to make the transition from hat to gown is astounding! Make sure you check out the deconstruction of Charles James garments, and learn from the very best about dress and fashion from one of the greatest. Lace up your Jimmy Choos, slip on your favorite Vera Wang and head over to the Chicago History Museum for your fashion fix.

See you there!

Charles James: Genius Deconstructed

Chicago History Museum, 1601 North Clark St

Open: Monday-Saturday 9:30am-4:30pm, Sundays 12noon-5pm

Tickets: $12-$14

For more information about the Charles James exhibit visit Genius Deconstructed or visit for information regarding the museum.

Wanjiku Kairu


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