Edith Head: The Fifty-Year Career of Hollywood's Greatest Costume Designer

Edith Head: The Fifty-Year Career of Hollywood's Greatest Costume Designer

Jay Jorgensen

Language: English

Pages: 400

ISBN: 0762438053

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


All About Eve. Funny Face. Sunset Blvd. Rear Window. Sabrina. A Place in the Sun. The Ten Commandments. Scores of iconic films of the last century had one thing in common: costume designer Edith Head (1897–1981). She racked up an unprecedented 35 Oscar nods and 400 film credits over the course of a fifty-year career.

Never before has the account of Hollywood’s most influential designer been so thoroughly revealed—because never before have the Edith Head Archives of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences been tapped. This unprecedented access allows this book to be a one-of-a-kind survey, bringing together a spectacular collection of rare and never-before-seen sketches, costume test shots, behind-the- scenes photos, and ephemera.

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in The Lady Eve “ONCE YOU’VE FELT THE PLEASURE OF INTRODUCING CLOTHES WHICH YOU BECOME MUCH MORE CONSCIOUS OF FASHION.” -Barbara Stanwyck Edith and Wiard at their home on Doheny Drive in Beverly Hills. Edith was loaned to Samuel Goldwyn when Barbara Stanwyck was cast in Ball of Fire (1941). In an imaginative re-telling of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Stanwyck played Sugarpuss O’Shea, a nightclub singer who hides out from the police with a group of professors. For Sugarpuss’ nightclub

producers Benedict Bogeaus and Burgess Meredith, she agreed to wear a sarong, but declared in the press this would be the last time she would wear the garment in a movie. Dorothy said: “From now on, it’s going to be shorts, slacks and evening gowns.” When Edith went to pull a sarong from stock, she discovered that all twenty-sixsarongs she had made for Lamour in the Jungle and Road films, had been sent on Dorothy’s war bond tours and were given as prizes for bond selling. Considering Lamour had

Wyman. Critics felt this was one of Stanwyck’s most Oscar-worthy performances. Oleg Cassini once said that Edith never did anything that she didn’t receive credit on, but Winter Meeting (1948), a Warner Brothers film starring Bette Davis, was one film on which that happened. With Bette’s longtime designer Orry-Kelly gone from Warner Brothers, the actress needed someone to help hershop for her wardrobe forthe film. Edith told David Chierichetti that she couldn’t remember how the connection had

were there to get a job done, but there was still a feeling that she was in your corner.” Vivien Leigh was in England during pre-production of Elephant Walk (1954). She had been cast as Ruth Wiley, a British beauty who is romanced by a tea plantation owner (Peter Finch) and brought to a doomed plantation house in Ceylon. Edith made fifty sketches for the thirty-two changes of wardrobe and sent them to England for Vivien to approve. The clothes that Vivien was to wear for the location shooting in

with a high neck that the actress had designed herself. The wardrobe department copied the dress in black linen and had it embroidered with pink carnations, and it fit Magnani’s style and the scene perfectly. Sophia Loren and Cary Grant were having a love affair when they were signed to make Houseboat (1958). Complicating the matter was Loren’s marriage to Carlo Ponti, which happened right in the middle of filming. Grant played Tom Winters, a widowed father of three, who enlists Cinzia (Loren),

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