Cecil Beaton

Sneak Peek: Met Gala’s Featured Designer Charles James

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As you plot your summer bucket list, we have one must-see exhibit for you to include—Charles James: Beyond Fashion. A retrospective of the late British-American fashion designer, the subject of tonight’s Met Gala, the breathtaking display marks the inaugural event in The Costume Institute’s new Anna Wintour Costume Center. Open to the public May 8th – August 10th, this memorable exhibition features 75 of James’ most impactful creations, emphasizing his jaw-dropping gowns that still inspire designers to this day. Click through now for an insider’s look at a few of our favorite images from the show, then peruse more major Met Gala moments as told by Rachel Zoe!

Charles James Ball Gowns, 1948

Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Photograph by Cecil Beaton, Beaton / Vogue / Condé Nast Archive. Copyright © Condé Nast

Charles James with Model, 1948

Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Photograph by Cecil Beaton, Beaton / Vogue / Condé Nast Archive. Copyright © Condé Nast

Nancy James in Charles James Swan Gown, 1955

Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Photograph by Cecil Beaton, The Cecil Beaton Studio Archive at Sotheby's

Charles James Butterfly Gown, 1954

Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Photograph by Cecil Beaton, The Cecil Beaton Studio Archive at Sotheby's

Austine Hearst in Charles James Clover Leaf Gown, ca. 1953

Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Photographer Unknown, © Bettmann/CORBIS