Kleibacker circa 1965
one of Kleibackers (almost) seamless bias designs
One of American fashion’s unsung heroes has passed. Having designed for Lanvin under Anthony Castillo in Paris, Adele Simpson, and his own label in NY, Charles Kleibacker was known in his career for his ingenious methods for cutting and sewing on the bias as well as his couture standard quality. Kleibacker developed a technique in which the fabric and stitches are pulled while a garment is sewn so that the seams are perfectly stretched to accommodate the fall of the bias diagonal. With this technique Kleibacker could mold almost any woven fabric, in any structure, to the human body, clinging and moving like a second skin. If Charles James was the master of tailleur (the two in fact were friends) Kleibacker was the master of flou.
The following is a recent documentary produced by the Columbus Museum of Art where Kleibacker worked as adjunct curator. With commentary from Harold Koda, Henri Bendel’s Koko Hashim, and his friends and colleagues, it gives far more insight into what an incredible man Kleibacker was than what my words can do…
Charles was a friend, a mentor, and an inspiration, he will be sorely missed.