Charles Le Maire (1897-1985) began his costume design career in vaudeville shows of the 1920s. He later served as executive designer at Twentieth Century-Fox. In the 1950s, Le Maire formed his own business from private commissions and film work, earning thirteen Oscar nominations and three Oscars for Best Costume Design. The collection contains seventeen Le Maire sketches, including work for the Earl Carroll Vanities (1924-1930).
0.1 Cubic Feet and 17 illustrations
[Identification of item], [date (if known)], Charles Le Maire costume and fashion sketches, KA.0055, box __, folder __, New School Archives, The New School, New York, New York.
Scope and Content:
The costume and fashion design sketches in this collection are executed in pencil and watercolors. Eleven sketches depict showgirl and chorus costumes Le Maire designed for Earl Carroll's Vanities between approximately 1924 and 1930, and another six sketches are unidentified, with the exception of a blue and white dress labeled, "Clothing for Mrs. Zanuck." Presumably, the dress was commissioned by or for Virginia Fox Zanuck, wife of Twentieth Century-Fox executive Darryl F. Zanuck until 1956. One unlabeled sketch may be related to Le Maire's work as wardrobe designer on the film, The Egyptian (1954), directed by Michael Curtiz. The design resembles a costume worn by a Babylonian courtesan in the film.
Biographical / Historical:
Charles Le Maire (sometimes written as LeMaire) was born in Chicago in 1897. He got his start in vaudeville theater and by the early 1920s was active in New York's musical theater scene as a costume designer, primarily for musical revues. He designed for Earl Carroll's Vanities, George White's Scandals, and Ziegfeld Follies, among other productions through the end of the 1930s. He began designing film costumes in the mid-1920s.
Le Maire left Broadway for Hollywood, serving as executive designer and director of wardrobe for Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation from 1943 until 1949. He opened his own salon in 1949, but continued prolifically designing film costumes until his retirement in 1962. A Walk on the Wild Side (1961) was his last credited production.
During the 1950s, Le Maire was nominated for numerous Academy Awards and won three times. Winning productions were All About Eve (1950, shared award with Edith Head), The Robe (1953, shared with Emile Santiago), and Love is a Many-Splendored Thing (1955).
Charles Le Maire died in 1985.
Purchased by archives in 2001.
Rules or conventions:
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
The Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the New York Public Library hold additional costume sketches by Charles Le Maire.