Eldon House (1895)

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Interior view of Eldon House, 1895 – note the abundance of bric-a-brac and elaborate Victorian furnishings. Eldon House was built in 1834 for John Harris, Treasurer of the London District, and occupied by his family – his wife Amelia and their eight children. It was first named Eldon Terrace, shortly thereafter changed to Eldon House – via lib.uwo.ca

The Amazing Lauren Bacall by Nina Leen for Life Magazine (1945)

Lauren Bacall (1924 – 2014) began her career in the 1940s as a model, before making her debut as a leading lady with Humphrey Bogart in the film To Have and Have Not in 1944. She continued in the film noir genre with appearances with Bogart in The Big Sleep (1946), Dark Passage (1947), and Key Largo (1948).

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Portrait of Lauren Bacall by Nina Leen, 1945 via

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Portrait of Lauren Bacall by Nina Leen, 1945 via

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Portrait of Lauren Bacall by Nina Leen, 1945 via

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Portrait of Lauren Bacall by Nina Leen, 1945 via

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Portrait of Lauren Bacall by Nina Leen, 1945 via

A Collection of Vintage Fashion by Charles James

Though he had no formal training, he is now regarded as one of the greatest designers in America to have worked in the tradition of Haute Couture. After designing in his native London, and then Paris, James arrived in New York City in 1940. The same year he opens Charles James, Inc. custom design business on East Fifty-seventh Street, New York. In 1943 James begins designing custom creations for Elizabeth Arden. One of his most successful collections opened in Paris in 1947 at the Hôtel Plaza Athénée. In the 1950s he spent most of his time in New York.

James looked upon his dresses as works of art, as did many of his customers. Year after year he reworked original designs, ignoring the sacrosanct schedule of seasons. The components of the precisely constructed designs were interchangeable so that James had a never-ending fund of ideas on which to draw. He is most famous for his sculpted ball gowns made of lavish fabrics and to exacting tailoring standards; in 1955 James created the Balloon dress with high Empire waist and voluminous folds and the Butterfly sheath dress with enormous bustle.  He is also remembered for his capes and coats, often trimmed with fur and embroidery, his spiral zipped dresses, and his white satin quilted jackets.

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Charles James (in black) with models during one of his fashion show, photographed by Eliot Elisofon, ca. 1950 via

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Dominique de Menil at home, dressed in Charles James and on Charles James couch, ca. 1951 via

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Charles James Butterfly Gown 1954, photo by Cecil Beaton via

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Austine Hearst in Charles James Four Leaf Clover Dress, ca. 1953 via

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Charles James, Dresses, 1959 via