1. V&A Shop
  2. Books
  3. Shop all books
  4. Designer in Detail: Charles James (hardback)

Designer in Detail: Charles James (hardback)


Out of Stock

Free UK delivery on orders £60 and over

‘If a stitch is crooked, the whole dress is torn to shreds’ - Virginia Woolf, 1933

Charles Wilson Brega James (1906–78) was one of the most celebrated and sought-after couturiers of his day, and won ecstatic praise for his highly innovative designs. Without formal training, he created some of the most ambitious, dramatic couture of the twentieth century and, with the breathless support of the UK and American press, came to be the designer of choice for powerful clients including Marlene Dietrich and socialite Austine Hearst.

In this book, the first in a new series examining the working methods and dressmaking practices of great designers, James’s reputation is re-examined and his most breathtaking designs are analyzed in exacting detail – from magnificent eveningwear to chic accessories. Timothy A. Long explores the previously unstudied methods James employed – uncovering a geometric rigour and passion for materials that enabled the designer to create revolutionary garments.

Featuring detailed illustrations and new garment photography, this is the perfect introduction to James’s stunning work – valuable to dressmakers, designers and scholars alike.


Timothy A. Long


160 pages


20.7 x 1.9 x 27 cm



Product code


  • UK standard delivery £5
    (FREE on orders £60 and over*)
    (3 – 6 working days)
  • Europe standard delivery £20
  • Rest of the world standard delivery £30

Please note: due to unprecedented demand, orders are currently dispatched within 5 days.
We're working to return to our usual of 2 days as soon as possible. Thank you for your patience. 


If you are not completely satisfied with your item you may return it within 28 days for a full refund.


Selected items may be purchased early for dispatch from the future date given in their product information.
Other items ordered that are available immediately will be shipped right away, separately, at no additional charge.

Find out more

About the author

Timothy A. Long

Timothy A. Long is Curator of Fashion and Decorative Arts at the Museum of London. He is responsible for numerous displays of fashion and textiles, including Charles James: Genius Deconstructed (Chicago History Museum, 2011-12) and The Anatomy of a Suit (Museum of London, 2013-14).