Charles (1906-1978). British designer. He was nicknamed the “architect of fashion” for his wise cut and his evening dresses of sculpted shapes. A man with a difficult temper, he was, according to Balenciaga, one of the greatest world couturiers. Friend of Cecil Beaton and Gertrude Stein, he drew inspiration from painting, using the drawings of famous artists to create his models. His famous plissé blouse was inspired by Matisse and the matelassé white jacket was taken from a drawing by Cocteau. Born in Sandhurst, England, he studied at Harrow. He emigrated to Chicago where, towards the end of the 1920s, he made his debut as a milliner, but the business failed. In 1928 he moved to Long Island. A manicurist wore his hats and they were noticed. He opened a showroom in New York. In 1929 he started designing clothes and, in the same year, he presented his first Collection in London. Throughout the 1930s, he commuted between London, New York, and Paris. He was among the first to introduce the spiral zip fastening and the divided skirt. He became one of the favorite tailors of Marlene Dietrich and Gertrude Lawrence and, in 1940, he settled in New York. Four years later he designed clothes for the salon of Elizabeth Arden. In 1947 he returned for a short time to Paris to present a Collection that was very successful. Once he had returned to New York, his business experienced some ups and downs, which caused him to retire in 1958. He continued to teach couture until the 1970s. In 1980 a retrospective was dedicated to him at the Brooklyn Museum.