Weinstein Co. licenses the Charles James fashion brand name

Weinstein Co. co-Chairman Harvey Weinstein is shown with wife Georgina Chapman at the 83rd Academy Awards.
(Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)
Los Angeles Times Fashion Critic

Coming on the heels of Monday night’s Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute Gala for the fashion exhibition “Charles James: Beyond Fashion,” the Weinstein Co. announced Tuesday via news release that it has agreed to license, with an option to buy, the luxury fashion brand Charles James from the designer’s estate.

James, who is often called “America’s first couturier,” was at his height from the 1930s to the 1950s, when he revolutionized fashion from the inside out. A sculptor of cloth, he championed strapless dresses, the figure-eight skirt and spiral cuts. His work was the antithesis of today’s disposable fast fashion. Each piece was painstakingly constructed, hand-sculpted to the client’s measurements and took hundreds of hours to complete.

Marchesa designer Georgina Chapman (who is married to Weinstein Co. co-Chairman Harvey Weinstein) and her brother, Marchesa CEO Edward Chapman, will serve as creative consultants for the label.

The Weinstein Co. plans to reintroduce the brand to high-end retailers.


The James exhibition is on view at the Anna Wintour Costume Center in New York through August 10. The Weinstein Co. is working with the Met to bring the exhibition to other major cities, according to the release.

“Charles James was one of the most incredible couturiers in the history of fashion and this label deserves to be a household name in same ranks as Chanel, Dior and Oscar de la Renta,” Harvey Weinstein said in a statement. “There isn’t a single designer in high fashion who wouldn’t name him as a major influence. We are beyond thrilled to be spearheading the revival of this brand and bringing it back to the world’s finest retailers.”

Marchesa’s Georgina Chapman commented: “Charles James designs and gowns took everyone’s breath away at the Met ball. He’s long been an inspiration to me and everyone at Marchesa. We’re thrilled to help bring the Met exhibit to museums around the country and to bring the spirit and style of Charles James back into the fashion marketplace.”

The deal for the Charles James brand was negotiated with David Glasser and David Hutkin of Strategic Initiatives, Investment and Banking for the Weinstein Co. with Charles B. H. James and Louise D. B. James for the Charles James estate.

The Weinstein Co. has long enjoyed a cozy relationship with the fashion industry. The company produces the popular “Project Runway” series and its spinoff programs. And in 2007, Harvey Weinstein purchased and attempted (but ultimately failed) to revive Halston, the clothing label started by the late American designer Roy Halston Frowick in 1968. He later sold his stake in that label.

Weinstein often attends fashion events with Chapman. And films produced by his company have incorporated tie-ins with brands such as fine jeweler Chopard, which co-hosts the Weinstein Co.'s annual Oscar party and other events.