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Black Tie International:
Museum at FIT
 Charles James: Portrait of an Unreasonable Man: Fame, Fashion, Art
Valerie Steele, Michele Gerber Klein. Photo by:  Barry Williams/ 
Valerie Steele, Michele Gerber Klein
Photo by:  Barry Williams/ 


The Museum at FIT’s Dr. Valerie Steele recently hosted a conversation with author Michèle Gerber Klein and her new book Charles James: Portrait of an Unreasonable Man: Fame, Fashion, Art.  Part of Gerber Klein's nationwide tour, the event was attended by more than 300 people. They listened as Gerber Klein and Steele explored the life of America’s first grand master of fashion, Charles James - the man Christian Dior named as the inspiration for the “New Look” and Cristóbal Balenciaga called “the greatest couturier in the world”.


James was known for pushing the boundaries of fashion, but also for his sharp tongue, drug problems, and grandiose ego," said Gerber Klein. "One of the questions he asked himself, ‘How can I make a dress one could wear to make love in a taxi?’ The answer came as the first wrap dress.  It was just one of his many significant innovations.”


In addition to her talk at FIT, Gerber Klein has led conversations about her book at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles, the Savannah College of Art and Design, and the National Arts Club among others. 


She is the founder of joan vass U.S.A., Vice President of the Liberman Foundation, and is a member of The Couture Council of The Museum at FIT. She has written about art, fashion and arts de vivre for a wide variety of publications including Bomb and The Brooklyn Rail.  



Gerard Mc Keon and Joyce Brooks.  Photo by:  Susumu Sato

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