Journalist. Mother. Bunny enthusiast. Pop culture junkie.

Journalist. Mother. Bunny enthusiast. Pop culture junkie.

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?

77 comments:

Vanilla said...

I would love to be a costume designer :)

Love, Vanilla

http://vanillaheartsstyle.blogspot.com/

Vintage Vixen said...

What a talent! The world would have been a lot less beautiful if Edith Head hadn't have taken a gamble and followed her dream. A lesson for us all, it's never to late to start again. xxx

Cailin´s Place said...

like the post!kisses

www.cailinplace.blogspot.com

Phil said...

Great Post. I loved!

Tabatha said...

Very interesting post :-)
You & I share the same obsession, I think *g*
Edith Head really was one of a kind, her costumes were (& still are) breathtaking!

Miksu said...

the good old Hollywood<3 She was very talented, must admit! :) Interesting post, I agree with that :)

xx
http://absofuckinglutelyy.blogspot.com/

LiezyL said...

oh my, you revived my love for vintage hollywood!

KD said...

timeless beauty is always in, isn't it? Thanks for the comment! I'm definitely your newest follower :) x

myheartstumbles.blogspot.com

Jennifer said...

I feel so utterly in a bubble sometimes. I didnt know who she was or what she did! Thanks for the lesson dahhhling! I can always count on you to enlighten me! <3

xoXOxo
Jenn @ Peas & Crayons

pilgrimchick said...

I had heard about her somewhere I am clearly not recalling at the moment--sounded like a fascinating woman.

Great point at the end regarding no one "remembering" her as a Spanish teacher!

Sherin said...

What an amazing woman! I love knowing about the people behind the movie, rather than just the actors. She seems really talented!

Holly Golightly said...

Cute Blog!
Thank you for your comment! Zumba is an absolute blast such a great way to get into shape I love it.

Ashley said...

What an amazing life she must have led, I'd love to read her biography!

-Ashley
http://breakfastatsaks.blogspot.com

Pop Champagne said...

hey sketches are awesome, if only I was better at sewing, I can sew my own creations... but I'm so awful at it that it just falls apart eventually lol

Melanie's Randomness said...

She is one of the most reconizable people in fashion! I love her work in Roman Holiday! She was so talented!! =)

Melanie's Randomness

Josie said...

She was so chic and had such a flawless sense of style and design. She was so talented and did such amazing work.
xo Josie
http://winksmilestyle.blogspot.com

Vikki said...

Love this post! and I love the sketches too!
The world certainly lost a Spanish teacher, but gained an amazing costume designer!!

xxx
Vikki

http://stylometre.blogspot.com

Marissa said...

That's so funny! As soon as I saw that first photo I thought of the designer from The Incredibles.

Cybelle e Fabi said...

Her costumes were amazing!!! Great post!!! xoxox Cybelle & Fabi

http://www.fromustwoyou.com/

Melissa: Write it in Lipstick said...

I love this post. The story of her life is so amazing. I love how she was portrayed as the designer in the movie Incredibles. So cute.

Andrés Corella said...

So good to know about her...I loved Roman Holiday...and that dress was fabulous...and yeah you shoulkd try the pizza is delicious!!

xx
Andy

Tights Lover said...

Wow, she sounded like an amazing woman! I always love these profiles you do, because you always seem to find people I'm unfamiliar with!

Hope you're having a great week!

kayla marie said...

love it!
new post up,
thanx for the blog love.

thechyrelgomez said...

This is a very great post. Love the new information I've learned through your blog. :)

Cheryl: Oh to Be a Muse said...

oh these pictures are fantastic. i didn't know she was the inspiration from the character in The Incredibles!

Oh to Be a Muse

a!k0 said...

I love this post!! Very inspiring :D

x0x0

lifelittlesurprises.blogspot.com

Twenty.Something said...

GREAT post! I love this and I adore that brown dress... I want to rock it.

And no you're not a bad influence on your bf, he'll love those glasses ;)

Have a good night!

http://artfashiontwentysomething.blogspot.com

David L Macaulay said...

I never knew about Edith Head, great post as always, even if she was not a great American icon and leader in the genre of Groundhog Phil.

Katie said...

Great illustrations! I share your obsession with vintage Hollywood. You summed things up good :)

Chic 'n Cheap Living said...

The Grace Kelly gown is breathtaking. Oh to have worn an Edith Head gown!

SMASH said...

Edith Head!! She rules so hard. I loved reading this post and learning about her, I only new the bare bones about her life so this was really nice to read :) and yes, the gown Audrey wears in Roman holiday= amazingness x10000000

xx
MILK TEETHS

Savvy Gal said...

she is awesome.

Lee Oliveira said...

She is such a fabulous costume designer
I really enjoy her biography.. Thank u
lee x

Fashion Fabrice said...

she's just fabulous! Those dresses are art-pieces!Wish I could wear one, just for one day..I would feel like a princess:) this is really a great post!


AND you have such a great blog by the way!
Hope you visit me back & become a follower !
Love,
fashionfabrice

Have a FABULOUS day!

Fashion Fabrice said...

she's just fabulous! Those dresses are art-pieces!Wish I could wear one, just for one day..I would feel like a princess:) this is really a great post!


AND you have such a great blog by the way!
Hope you visit me back & become a follower !
Love,
fashionfabrice

Have a FABULOUS day!

Josephine said...

thank you !!!!

Cafe Fashionista said...

She was a genius - plain and simple! :)

Courtney Erin said...

She was so amazingly talented!

xoxo ~ Courtney
http://sartorialsidelines.blogspot.com

Rafael Franco said...

Hi

Really interesting post. I didn't know Edith, I love all the pictures.

kisses from Brazil

http://neopopculture.blogspot.com/

F. said...

Love the sketches!

Amazing!

xoxo F.
http://fashion-way-of-life.blogspot.com/

Melissa said...

absolutely brilliant! I LOVED her designs for Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday! fabulous blog, following!!! x

Milly said...

Just LOVE Edith Head, such an inspiration. So many great images to choose from. Thank you for such a lovely post.x

http://millyfellintothewardrobe.blogspot.com/

Ninjagaiden78 said...

Thats pretty cool how she took a art class and kind of stumbled on it.

I like your site, you have a new follower.

windowshopz.com

DeLiz said...

wow...I would be born in the 50s!!!!!!!! *_* xoxo
LiDì

http://fashiondeliz.blogspot.com

Nells said...

thanx for sharing this post!interesting!!
nice blog!i must also thank you for the sweet comment u left me so now here i am!hope to see u soon!following!

Paz. said...

Amazing pictures!

Thanks for always visit my blog!

Kisses!!

StarletStarlet said...

Oooh awesome, awesome, awesome! I didn't know that much about Edith, so this is great and a very well written post!

Thanks so much for your comment on my blog. I'm your latest follower now :)

btd. said...

Man you have some great knowledge on vintage Hollywood. I love reading your insight and these are amazing dresses!
Also, yes Echoes is an AMAZING book.

Missy said...

wow i'd kill for that first dress!

Missy
Enter my Apothica giveaway!
http://thefashionfusion.blogspot.com

Rachel said...

Great post! I'm loving all of these photos and those sketches are gorgeous!

My Own Strange Little World said...

Cool post!! Love the pictures!!

http://myownstrangelittle-world.blogspot.com

p&p said...

hey! amazing post!! i had no idea she was a spanish teacher first. You really never know where you'll end up.

-pop-
http://poppinseatspancakes.blogspot.com

Lightning Bug's Butt said...

You're the Paul Revere of fashion!

Venus In Virgo said...

Freaky...I was going to do a post on her because they have this new collectors book out on her complete works. I love her! Discovered her when studying costumes-fashion-film and historical. Great post and a wonderful tribute to a legend XOXO

mirjam schuurkamp! said...

what a great talent!
great post
fun to read it!
thanks for the lovely comment
ure stunning!

xo model from holland

new outfit of today online

www.mirfashion.blogspot.com
everyday a new post come check it out

Corinne Monique said...

I adored this post!!!!!

Corinne xo
http://corinnemonique.blogspot.com

Teresa said...

Those vintage sketches are gorgeous!

invasionista

Agora tô pronta said...

I love that old style.
is beautiful. full of elegance...

lauren lanza osias said...

she was such a genius. she really led the way to modern fashion. a freaking icon. it blows my mind all of the ah-mazing people she worked with.

http://laurenlanzaosias.blogspot.com
bumming it like a celeb...

Laura said...

i have such a good blog!!!
im following :)
-laura

http://thesemanyyears.blogspot.com

Mako said...

i love the post¡¡ what talent¡¡ thanks for your comment¡¡ i follow now¡¡ kisses :)

Hot Cake Fashion-The truly Scrumptious.. said...

Great picks as always, it requires some real imagination being a costume designer but why not..It sounds like a great career..Have the best weekend!!Big hugs..Alice

nicolle saylor said...

wowwww so beautiful!!!!!!!


love

nicollesaylor.blogspot.com

Chelsea Lane said...

I adore all the black and white photos <3 she was so major! :)

xoxo

Athena. said...

Oh, so iconic: and those dresses are a dream. xxx

swellmayde said...

hi! nice meeting you and thanks for visiting my site! :) your blog is quite lovely!

edith head was an alumni from my college!! she's amazing!

- aimee

swellmayde.com

a woman's right to shoes said...

Og my god, I can't believe I haven't really heard about her. But I recognise her dresses and she had such a talent. Great post =)

http://cammiew4.blogspot.com/

*chameleon* said...

i must to say this is one of my favorite posts on your blog!!!!i enjoyed so much reading it and discovering about this amazingly talented woman!!:)) thank u!:))

Patroushka's place said...

thank you :)

http://patroushkasplace.blogspot.com/

crystal glamour said...

so beautiful :)

daily new post at
http://pinklemonincrystal.blogspot.com

love jenny xoxo said...

very cool, I had no idea but i would love to learn more about her now! What an amazing job!

XOXO

http://lovejennyxoxo.blogspot.com/

Haute World said...

I love her designs! I saw some of the dresses she did for Grace Kelly at the Grace Kelly exhibition last year, and they were so timeless. It's almost a shame that these days people just borrow random designer clothes for the red carpet, when back then, they were actually tailor-made and worn more than once. It's also quite a coincidence she died the same year as Kelly...

OceanDreams said...

wow, Edith certainly was one amazing lady!! i love her styles, designs, and I had no idea that she was that cartoon character, i loved that movie!!

Kristin said...

She was so divinely talented!

firefliesinthenight said...

Woow, I love this blog and I'm in love with this post too!
I follow you :D

www.fireflies-in-the-night.blogspot.com

bimbi said...

I really like your blog :-)
i'm following you !!
bimbi

Fashion is me said...

Great design, the magic of old cinema

Adam,

http://fashionispartofme.blogspot.com