Wednesday, February 2, 2011
The Legendary Edith Head
As you may know, I am a bit obsessed with vintage Hollywood. One of my favorite aspects of that era is the costumes.
In the 1940s, 50s, and 60s, Hollywood fashion was determined by one woman: Edith Head.
Believe it or not, Edith started out as a Spanish teacher in southern California. Out of boredom, she took evening art classes.
Out of pure luck, the 27-year-old scored a job interview with Paramount Studios in 1924 to be a costume sketch artist. She was instantly hired. She started out designing costumes for silent films and her talent quickly made her one of the most famous costume designers in Hollywood.
Grace Kelly (above photo), and other movie stars, such as Audrey Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor, and Bette Davis, have named Edith as their favorite costume designer. Director Alfred Hitchcock also claimed she was the best in the business.
She was nominated for 35 oscars 35 consecutive years in a row. She won 8 of them.
Here are a few sketches of some of Edith's most famous costumes:
Recognize this dress? It helped win Edith an Oscar for Best Costume Design.
This breathtaking ballgown worn by Grace Kelly stole the show in To Catch a Thief.
Another gown which earned an Academy Award for Edith.
Some Edith Head costumes in real-life:
Doris Day in The Man Who Knew Too Much
Gloria Swanson in Sunset Boulevard
Kim Novak in Vertigo
Although Edith Head's career declined by the 1970s and she passed away in 1981, her legend still lives on. We enjoy her work through our favorite fashion icons. We see her in the most peculiar places.
Her success also lives on in our own hopes and dreams. It is never too late to change careers, to be a legend in a world you never dreamed possible.
After all, who remembers Edith Head as a Spanish teacher?