4 Reasons Why You Should Stand in Line for Charles James at the Met

It's always fun to see how the Costume Institute will follow up after the last great exhibit at the Met. This past season is was Punk: Chaos to Couture, as confused gala-goers attempted to dress the part (I think only Sarah Jessica Parker really got it right,) and before that (and pictured above) Alexander McQueen's Savage Beauty.

This year, after a year of safety pins, plaid, and generally an attitude of not giving a shit, the Costume Institute presents us with Charles James: Beyond Fashion , or in the words of Cristobal Balenciaga, the greatest American couturier. Quite the follow up to punk.

James ruled the couture scene in the U.S. in the 1930s, '40s, and '50s, and his gowns were frequently photographed by the venerated Cecil Beaton for tomes like American Vogue. Think high glamour, high glitz, and lots of gorgeous gowns.

So why should you stand in those infamous lines to see Beyond Fashion in May when it opens? I'll tell you.

1. A whopping one hundred gowns on display. You think the clothes at Fashion Week are spectacular? Just wait 'til you see the detailing of Charles James' pieces up close. The couture will be split between the first floor as well as The New Costume Institute.

2. Speaking of The New Costume Institute... A new space with a better layout designed to perfectly display the items while allowing for the greatest tech innovations appropriate means a better flow in the space. A better flow means less congestion, which translates to much shorter lines and less crazy crowds to content with while viewing the exhibit.

3. James created innovative designs. Yes, the gowns are beautiful, but we're talking about more than that here. For creations like wrap-over trousers, body hugging sheaths, figure-eight skirts, poufs (poufs!) and spiral dresses, we have James to thank. What's a spiral dress, you ask? James meant for it to be easy to "spiral" out of, and into another, in a compromising place, like say, in the back of a cab. Genius.

4. Bradley Cooper. What does the leading man have to do with couture? He's co-chairing the exhibit, so maybe you'll see him there.

Mark your calendars, kids.

Image: Wesley Chau via Wikimedia Commons