James primarily worked in the 1930s - 1950s and was known as "America's First Couturier." He revolutionized fashion with his designs like the taxi dress ("so easy to wear that you can slip into it--or out of it--in a taxi") and the figure eight skirt. In the 1930s, he championed the strapless dress.
"Fashion, after all, is magic and miracle...intended to bestow proportion and beauty where both have been lost or faded with years."
"Brancusi has his medium; Picasso, Faulkner, Shostakovich, theirs. Mine happens to be cloth."
And my personal favorite -- shown here as an overlay. "Cut in dressmaking is like grammar in a language. A good design should be like a well made sentence, and it should only address one idea at a time."
As I walked through the show, I wondered what it would be like to have a life that warranted wearing clothing like this. I suspect it wouldn't suit me very well, since I feel like I've made a Herculean effort when I spend more than three minutes on my make-up. No doubt it would have been fun, though, to make an entrance to a party or restaurant wearing one of James' creations.