Rick Owens wrote the preface for Charles James: The Couture Secrets of Shape

COMMON THREAD: Fresh from his show Thursday evening, Rick Owens hosted a cocktail at the Joyce Gallery to celebrate the publication of “Charles James: The Couture Secrets of Shape,” for which the American designer wrote the preface.

The event was also the occasion to fete an exhibition of the late designer’s work put together by Owens’ wife, Michèle Lamy, at the gallery, to run until March 14.

“I’ve always talked about Charles James as being who I wanted to be,” said Owens. “He was a difficult personality and I have always loved his glamorous but kind of sleazy vibe. His stuff was so pure, and I’ve always talked about him as one of my references, so when they were writing this book, they reached out to me to write a preface,” he explained.

Lamy was on the cusp of James’ social circle, meanwhile, having also lived at the Chelsea Hotel in New York City — where James resided for many years — in her early twenties.

“I don’t really remember him the last years, the late Seventies, but everybody around knew him,” she said.

Among her favorite pieces in the exhibition, she cited the designer’s tools — such as crayons and paints — as well as his patterns.

“I imagine him spending hours and hours doing something and then not doing so much production; it’s the opposite of what everyone is trying to do today,” she said.

“There is a common thread between [Charles James and Rick Owens],” mused Bruno Frisoni, among the guests packed into the gallery, as he admired the patterns tacked to the walls. “There’s something in the construction, in the volume, and neither of them respects the rules.”


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