10 February 2011

Spotlight | Edith Head ~ Designer Extraordinaire

It is impossible to write a blog about vintage film without spending at least one post discussing the merits of Edith Head. Even before the lead actress appears on screen, I can tell I'm in for a couple of hours of sartorial sweetness when I see "Costumes by Edith Head" appear on the opening credits.

She holds the record for being the woman with the most Oscar nominations in history ~ a staggering 35 nominations with 8 wins. Even if you've never heard of her name, you have no doubt seen and recognise several of her creations worn by Audrey Hepburn, Bette Davis and Grace Kelly to name but a few. Studios were keen for their films not to fall out of favour with passing trends, and Edith Head assisted by designing iconic costumes that were classic and timeless. Many modern brides owe their dress designs to this talented lady.

(above left ~ talking to Hitch / above right ~ with Audrey)

I also love her trademark black fringe/chignon and dark glasses, which she had from the 1930s until the end of her life. Like her creations, it made her timeless and almost ageless. I like my designers looking chic ~ if they're expected to make others look good, they should be stylish themselves.

A snippet of her back catalogue:

All About Eve
A Place in the Sun (1952)
Roman Holiday (1954)
Sabrina (1955)
To Catch a Thief (1956)
Funny Face (1958)

For the best example of her amazing creations, set aside three hours to watch The Ten Commandments. Technicolor knew how to make colours sing, and there are few sights more glorious than that of Anne Baxter in shades of emerald, ruby red and sapphire.

For further inspiration, you might want to buy this book. Or perhaps you want to treat me instead?