James considered this coat, with its form-fitting empire bodice and stand-away bluebell-shaped skirt, one of his six most important shapes. He accomplished the fit of the bodice by dissecting it across the bust apex and upper back and molding the fabric over the breasts through steaming, pressing, and pulling. The skirt shape derives from its remarkable cut: an L-shaped panel from the back yoke seam wraps to the princess seam at the torso and continues from the lower hipline around to the center front skirt in one piece.


  • Title: Coat
  • Creator: Charles James
  • Date Created: 1954
  • Physical Dimensions: Length at CB: 47 in. (119.4 cm)
  • Type: Coat
  • External Link: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Collection Online
  • Medium: wool, silk
  • Culture: American
  • Credit Line: Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009; Gift of Mrs. William Randolph Hearst, Jr., 1960
  • Creator Death Date: 1978
  • Creator Birth Date: 1906
  • Accession Number: 2009.300.274

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