As a classic movie lover, it seems every important film from the 1940’s until the 1970’s was dressed by Academy Award Winning Costume Designer Edith Head. The look of a film sets the tone which Ms. Head artfully conveyed with her iconic fashions, making her our next accomplished artist in “The Faces Behind the Camera” theme.
Born Edith Claire Posener in San Bernardino, California, Edith Head (October 28, 1897 – October 24, 1981) was an American costume designer who won a record eight Academy Awards for Best Costume Design, starting with The Heiress (1949) and ending with The Sting (1973).
Head’s designs were integral to the look and feel of a picture and she was considered exceptional for her close working relationships with her subjects, with whom she consulted extensively, and these included virtually every top female star in Hollywood.
Dorothy Lamour, Veronica Lake, Barbara Stanwyck, Ingrid Bergman, Bette Davis, Elizabeth Taylor, Grace Kelly, Kim Novack and Tippi Hendren to name a few.
Head received eight Academy Awards for Best Costume Design, more than any other person, from a total of 35 nominations. (Wikipedia)
- 1950 – Black and White – The Heiress – won
- 1951 – Color – Samson and Delilah – won
- 1951 – Black and White – All About Eve – won
- 1952 – Black and White – A Place in the Sun – won
- 1954 – Black and White – Roman Holiday – won
- 1955 – Black and White – Sabrina – won
- 1961 – Black and White – The Facts of Life – won
- 1974 – The Sting – won
Born and raised in California, Head managed to get a job as a costume sketch artist at Paramount Pictures, without any relevant training. She first acquired notability for Dorothy Lamour’s trademark sarong dress in Paramount’s, The Jungle Princess (1936) and then became a household name after the Academy Awards created a new category of Costume Designer in 1948.
In 1967, at the age of 70, she left Paramount Pictures and joined Universal Pictures to work with Alfred Hitchcock on such films as –Rear Window, 1954, To Catch a Thief, 1955, The Man Who Knew Too Much, 1956, Vertigo, 1958, The Birds, 1963, and Marnie, 1964, where she remained until her death in 1981.
An Edith Head costume collection from the Paramount Pictures Archive left Hollywood—for just the second time—to be shown exclusively at the Decorative Arts Center of Ohio in Lancaster in “Designing Woman: Edith Head at Paramount 1924-1967” as presented by the Fox Foundation from June 7 through August 17, 2014. (Wikipedia)
Trivia: The costume designer Edna Mode in the 2004 Pixar movie The Incredibles was largely based on Edith Head, according to director Brad Bird, who voiced the character.
Head died on October 24, 1981, four days before her 84th birthday, from myelofibrosis, an incurable bone marrow disease. She is interred at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California.
Edith Head’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame is located at 6504 Hollywood Boulevard.