When I first saw Marisa Tomei on TV at the Oscars red carpet saying she was wearing a Charles James, I thought I must have misheard. Shouldn't that be in a museum somewhere? I thought. After all, these are the kinds of garments stored by the Met's Costume Institute in the exact right temperature and handled only with white cotton gloves. And, as mentioned in this morning's post, James's body of work was relatively small, so his pieces are rare and therefore even more prized.
But no, Marisa Tomei purchased this at the couture vintage shop Lily et Cie and wore it to the Oscars, the most glamorous of red carpet events.
Parsons blog questioned the idea of wearing a museum-quality piece, asking "Sacrament or Sacrilege?" I think it's an interesting question, but unfortunately they ended on a rather bitchy note:
I will agree that I was disappointed in the look, though I don't think Tomei's looks are to blame. I actually think perhaps James's work is better suited as an art piece. His gowns are so artfully constructed that it somehow seems more fitting to admire them on a faceless mannequin. But I also think this particular gown wasn't one of this masterpieces, to be honest. It lacks the intricate details of his others, and in fact even appears a bit dull in some photographs. What do you think?Tomei is both beautiful and stylish, but not even today’s runway models can pull off a James. At a reported 5 ft 4 to 5 ft 6 inches in height, with a bubbly smile and minimal looking make up on her face it was difficult, nay impossible, for her to channel the elegance of a Dovima or a Dorian Lee that is needed to make a Charles James truly flourish.