Dorothea Mink

An Archive of Pattern Principles

30.05. [10.45 Uhr]

Charles James (1906 – 1978) was one of the most creative and innovative fashion designers of the twentieth century. The British born American is widely regarded as the couturier whose work most closely attains the stature of art. One of the keys to Charles James’ work was his anatomical studies, his so called interpretation of Platonic form. He created new techniques for turning two-dimensional fabrics into three-dimensional forms.
In the upcoming presentation the audience will be introduced to unpublished archival materials that describe and analyze Charles James’ innovative approach to fashion design. This includes the development of specialized pattern principles that enabled him to apply new shapes to the human body. Charles James’ unique tools such as the “Hip expanders” and his “Platitudes” will be explained, helping current practitioners to incorporate James’ philosophy into their work.
Our research does not only introduce the timeless philosophy and the Jamesian working process but also to the ambiance of James’ last New York studio at the Chelsea Hotel during the late 1960’s and 1970’s. It brings back to life what was taking place behind a door intriguingly labeled “Sound of Shape and Design“.
Linking narrative episodes with explorations of technical mastery, the concept for the upcoming publication reaches far beyond the usual fashion-designer monograph or pattern-making book.


Ich bin im Schwarzwald an der französischen Grenze aufgewachsen und habe in Hamburg Modedesign studiert. Schon während meiner Ausbildung habe ich begonnen, für namhafte Hamburger Modeunterneh-men zu arbeiten. Berufliche Höhepunkte nach dem Studium waren meine Jahre bei Jil Sander und Wolfgang Joop.
Im Jahr 1995 erhielt ich mit Anfang Dreißig meinen Ruf an die Fachhochschule Hannover Fachbereich Kunst und Design. Bis März 2002 war ich dort als Professorin für Modedesign tätig. Seit April 2002 lehre ich an der Hochschule für Künste Bremen: Studiengang Integriertes Design – experimenteller Entwurf mit dem Schwerpunkt Modedesign.