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How a Dress From UNT Will Make An Impact At Tonight's Met Ball

Beyonce at the Met Ball last year, pre-Beygency. Via Getty Images
Beyonce at the Met Ball last year, pre-Beygency. Via Getty Images

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You probably know (and your Instagram feed is positioned accordingly) that the Met Ball is tonight. We here at Racked are calling it the Cinco de Met Ball, a mashup of two effective holidays that inspire margarita-swilling and dress-ogling, perhaps not necessarily in that order. But you may not be so familiar with the event's honoree, whose work will be feted: courturier Charles James.

The British-born designer is known for dresses which feature constricted waists, curvy silhouettes and creative structures, which revolutionized evening wear in the 1940s and 50s. So much so that the Met's Costume Institute sought insight when mounting the exhibit, and they did so from a local source—the University of North Texas. The school's Texas Fashion Collection lent the Met's conservation department a partially deconstructed dress—essentially its petticoat— so that the museum could research its construction.

According to UNT curator Myra Walker, viewing James' work is well worth the trip to New York. However, if you can't make it there, perhaps a visit to Houston is of order: The Menil Collection has a show of its own, A Thin Wall of Air: Charles James, which opens May 31.
· Texas Fashion Collection at UNT [Official Site]
· The Menil Collection [Official Site]
· Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute [Official Site]