Inspired by the discovery of long-overlooked interviews conducted just before his death, this is the first biography of the visionary fashion designer Charles James.
Christian Dior described him as the inspiration for the “New Look.” Salvador Dalí called his work “soft sculpture,” and Virginia Woolf exclaimed, “He is a genius.”
Michèle Gerber Klein's portrait of the life and times of Charles James draws on the glamour of Europe in the 1930s and the dazzle of New York City from the ’40s through the ’70s as it travels with James from his birth to privilege in England in 1906 and follows his career through his complex and turbulent relationships with exceptional women such as Elsa Schiaparelli and Eleanor Lambert, ending with his penurious death in New York’s fabled Chelsea Hotel.
As engrossing as a novel, as dramatic as grand opera, James’s story provokes, rivets, and inspires.
“Klein’s James…faithfully parallels the real man both inside and outside of the atelier, as she meticulously documents the period that became his legacy." — Interview Magazine
"Klein relies on her formidable fashion knowledge..." — The New York Times Book Review
”Michele Gerber Klein’s 2018 page turner follows the arc of the couturier’s life across his relationships with the women who were closest to him." — Bookforum
Michèle Gerber Klein is a philanthropist, collector and author whose topics are fame, fashion and art.
Born in Santa Fe, Michèle Gerber Klein lives and was raised in New York City. She attended the Lyçée Français and graduated from the Brearley School. After Bryn Mawr College, Michèle returned to Manhattan to pursue careers in fashion and philanthropy: She is the founder of joan vass U.S.A., a manufacturer of popularly priced, elegant knit wear.
Michèle has written about art, fashion and arts de vivre for a wide variety of publications. Her articles and interviews have been translated into several languages, taught at Columbia, archived by the Getty and quoted by scholars here and abroad. A proactive fund raiser, Michèle has chaired many benefits and has served on several board of non-profits and arts organizations.