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Charles James

Beneath the Dress

Beneath the Dress tells the story of fashion designer Charles James, known as America’s first couturier.  James held a storied position amongst fashion’s elite throughout the 20’s, 30’s, 40’s and well into the 50’s.  By the mid-50’s a Charles James creation could cost upwards of $1500, amongst the very highest prices in the world.


And then it all stopped.


We meet Charles in 1977 at the Chelsea Hotel NYC at 71 years old.  One year before he would die, penniless, alone and almost forgotten.


Blending archive footage, interviews with experts and friends, and hours of rare footage of James at the Chelsea Hotel we witness his brilliance and his madness.


Beneath the Dress investigates Charles James’ proper place in fashion history, his contributions and influence on commercially successful designers such as Halston and Dior, and where it all went terribly wrong.

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