Edith Head was a fashion legend in her own time. She is probably the most famous costume designer in Hollywood history. She was mostly famous for her work on costumes for movies. she became head of the costume department at Paramount. Edith’s career was more than 60 years long. In that time she earned 8 Oscars and 35 Oscar nominations. According to her page on imdb.com, Edith Head was the Costume Designer on 421 films. She is responsible for the clothing in Alfred Hitchcock’s To Catch a Thief and Vertigo; as well as Funny Face (starring Audrey Hepburn) and many Elvis movies.

Edith Head

Over the years, she worked her magic on such stars as Clara Bow, Mae West, Joan Crawford, Barbara Stanwyck, Ann Sheridan, Veronica Lake, Olivia de Haviland, Marlene Dietrich, Grace Kelly, and Elizabeth Taylor. She had a keen knack for visually transforming these actresses into whatever screen guise was required, whether in a period drama such as The Heiress, for which she won her first Academy Award, or an adventure film such as To Catch a Thief. “There isn’t anyone I can’t make over,” she pronounced.

Edith Head's Design for Grace Kelly in Rear Window

Audrey Hepburn in Funny Face

Edith's designs for Barbara Stanwyck in 1941's Ball Of Fire and The Lady Eve

The examples I’ve chosen all show Edith Head’s respect for the simple – there are no big ruffles, poufs, or prints. This is also a sign of the times (the style at the time these movies were made). Nevertheless, Edith Head’s choices prove to be timeless – they would look good today. My favorite Edith Head’s quote is “Your dresses should be tight enough to show you’re a woman and loose enough to show you’re a lady.”

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