Sybil's "Fascinating Folks!... Charles James"...


Ok! You don't have to be a woman, or even a fashionista to appreciate both the over-the-top styling in this photo or the sheer brilliance of the architecture, both of the room and the gowns that these women have been hammered into! (Talk about a girl watching her diet! JEEEESH!) This is the famous Cecil Beaton portrait from 1948 of various socialite/models in a selection of ball gowns designed (and actually COMPLETED! JEEEESH, AGAIN!) by the crack-pot/genius Charles James (July 18th, 1906 – September, 23rd, 1978) . Acknowledged (often resentfully) by admiring/envious rivals like Dior, Chanel, et al, he was also notoriously temperamental (with an emphasis on the "mental"!), and unreliable in his follow-through. Dozens of his wealthy and powerful clients waited indefinitely, impatiently, (and finally forever!) for gowns that they had paid FULLY for, but might not see in their closets. His business as well as his reputation (and mind) unraveled until he ended up broke and alone in the marvelously ramshackle Chelsea Hotel in NYC... where he died, chain-smoking and drunk at the age of 72... practically a bag-man... but still, a genius! (photo by Cecil Beaton!... yes, THAT Cecil Beaton!!)

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