Charles James was born on this day in 1906. Celebrated for his rigorous, structural approach to fashion design, James dressed some of the mid-twentieth century's most stylish women. Key clients, who purchased his designs, and supported him during times of financial distress, included Gypsy Rose Lee, Babe Paley, Dominique de Menil and Millicent Rogers. James's designs for these and other clients usually treated the body as a reference, not a foundation. Though his daywear exuded subdued elegance, his most breathtaking designs incorporate layers of fabric, padding and boning to create gowns that resemble colorful exoskeletons for the female body. James's spent his career refining and revisiting specific silhouettes; he considered the 1953 Four Leaf Clover gown his thesis piece, the gown that responded to all of his design inquiries.