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Arts InSight

A Couturier’s Interior Design For A Modern Landmark Home

Charles James’ eye for design extends to the famed de Menil home

In 1950, local art patrons John and Dominique de Menil asked friend and fashion designer, Charles James to decorate their modern home. Dominique had been a loyal patron of James as she had commissioned him to design gowns, coats and daywear throughout the years. Shortly after moving to Houston, the de Menils, advocates of modern art and architecture, commissioned architect Philip Johnson to design their home in River Oaks. With it’s modern angles and international design, the home ruffled a few feathers in the traditional neighborhood. The de Menil’s is the only home that Charles James ever decorated; he brought his surrealist sensibilities to everything from the furniture design, to velvet covered walls, voluptuous drapes, and rococo antiques.

Be sure to catch Arts InSight on Thursday July 17 at 7pm on TV 8. The episode will feature a profile of the Charles James exhibit at the Menil Collection and an update on the Menil’s current construction and architectural master plan.