Thursday, November 4, 2010

Edith Head, Hollywood Legend

Browsing in Barnes & Noble over the weekend I discovered a new gorgeous book called Edith Head: The Fifty-Year Career of Hollywood's Greatest Costume Designer by Jay Jorgensen.

Edith Head is responsible for the fashion in movies I love: All About Eve, Funny Face, Rear Window, Roman Holiday, Sabrina, Sunset Boulevard, The Ten Commandments, To Catch a Thief, Vertigo. During her long career she won 8 Academy Awards, more than any other woman in history, the first for The Heiress in 1950, the last for The Sting in 1974. The looks she gave to Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly and Kim Novak fueled my love of clothes and still influence me today, and, I'd say, anyone who counts Hepburn and Kelly as style icons.

If you get a chance to see this book, first put your muscles on because it is huge and heavy, and second, look through it and be astounded at how influential a costume designer Edith Head was.

Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck (could he be any foxier?), Roman Holiday.

Grace Kelly in that glorious white dress on the set of To Catch a Thief.

Audrey Hepburn on the set of Sabrina.

This famous “Sabrina” dress was believed for years to be by Givenchy, but in 1974 Head told her protégé, Jean-Pierre Dorleac, who wrote in an article published in the Los Angeles Times, that Hepburn sketched a version of this dress after seeing a Givenchy show and gave the sketch to Head since she wanted it as one of the costumes for Sabrina. Head removed the one-sided peplum that was shown in the sketch and added the bows at the shoulders and the “Sabrina” dress was born. Maybe the book elaborates even more.

William Holden and Gloria Swanson, Sunset Boulevard.

I love the leopard, sunglasses and floppy hat on Gloria Swanson in Sunset Boulevard.

Kim Novak, Vertigo.

Now I remember why I love white or cream-colored coats so much, look at how beautiful this is on Kim Novak, especially when paired with black!

Bette Davis, All About Eve.

A promotional still of Bette Davis for All About Eve. I love the pleating in the shoulders and bodice, as well as the brooch.

Anne Baxter, The Ten Commandments.

Check out Anne as a super sexy Egyptian! My husband drools over Anne every year when this comes on TV. I drool over Yul. I still cannot get over how sheer and revealing the costumes Anne wears are. How did they ever get past the censors?

What is your favorite movie costume of Edith’s?

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