Ensemble of dark purple wool and taffeta. Jacket (a) has notched collar. Deep V-shaped seams in front; three-button closure. Long inset sleeves. Skirt (b) is flared, with inverted V-shaped front panel. Falls to mid-calf. Two back hemline kick pleats.
Bramson/OAK PARK EVANSTON CHICAGO PALM BEACH; an original design/ by/ Charles James
In James's ranking of his top four creations, the Pagoda came in at number four for its emphasis on the "fine art of tailoring." Originally designed in 1954, Harper's Bazaar featured the suit in its July 1955 issue, the same year it was purchased by Mrs. Newman. Alterations to the side seams show that the circumference of the skirt was taken in for a tighter fit.
James considered the probability of alterations when designing ready-to-wear pieces. The tailoring of the Pagoda is both decorative and functional, allowing the wearer to obtain a custom fit by altering a few or all of the existing seams.