Tag Archive | hollywood

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Edith Head-The Dress Doctor

“You can have anything you want in life if you dress for it” was one of Edith Head’s famous quotes. And she certainly lived up to it. She started her career as a language teacher and ended up as the  most famous Hollywood costume designer of all time.

Edith Claire Posener was born October 28, 1897 and received her Master’s degree in Romance Languages from Stanford.  After teaching  French at the Hollywood School for girls, she was offered a position to teach art as well.  So she began taking night classes in drawing.  Because she had no income in the summer months, she decided to anwer an ad for costume sketch artist at a movie studio that was later to become Paramount.  Unfortunately she couldn’t draw human figures, so she used some classmates’ sketches, with their approval,  to bluff her way into the job.  Even though she misrepresented herself, she was still able to break into the film industry, working first with costume designer Howard Greer and eventually with designer Travis Banton. And when Banton left the studio in 1938, she became the first female head designer of a film studio.

She is responsible for the iconic looks of  many of Hollywood’s most famous actresses, including Clara Bow, Mae West, Jean Harlow,  Dorothy Lamour, Audrey Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor, Grace Kelly and Ginger Rodgers.   She won eight Academy Awards for costume design and  still holds the title for the most Oscars won by any woman.

Edith, herself,  had her own signature style. Her blunt bangs, dark glasses and neutral tailored suits created a distinctive understated image. Her trademark round framed “sunglasses” began as blue-lensed glasses that she used to see how colors would show up on the black and white screen.

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Costume Designer Edith Head with her many Oscars.

Below is a photo of Dorothy Lamour in The Jungle Princess 1936.  Edith Head designed the figure hugging sarong that started a tropical fashion trend for women.

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Dorothy Lamour in an Edith Head sarong dress for The Jungle Princess 1936

She won two Oscars in 1951 for “Sampson and Delilah” and “All About Eve”

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Hedy Lamarr wearing Edith Head costume in Samson and Delilah

All About Eve-Edith Head costume designs

All About Eve, Bette Davis, Anne Baxter, Marilyn Monroe-Edith Head costume designs

 

 Edith Head also worked on many films for Alfred Hitchcock, dressing his “Hitchcock Blondes.”

Below is a photo of Grace Kelly wearing a blue chiffon Edith Head gown in a promo shot for To Catch a Thief in 1955. About the beautiful actress, she said,  “I’ve dressed thousands of actors, actresses and animals, but whenever I am asked which star is my personal favorite, I answer, “Grace Kelly.” She is a charming lady, a most gifted actress and, to me, a valued friend.”

Grace Kelly-Edith Head Gown-To Catch a Thief 1955

Grace Kelly in an Edith Head design for Alfred Hitchock’s 1955 To Catch a Thief.

Edith Head is the one responsible for the fashion trend started by Audrey Hepburn’s cropped black pants in Sabrina (1954).

Audrey Hepburn-Black capris

Audrey’s black capris in Sabrina (1954) designed by Edith Head

And thousands of teenage girls bought prom dresses inspired by Edith Head’s dress designed for  Elizabeth Taylor  in A Place in the Sun(1951) .

Elizabeth taylor-Edith Head gown

Elizabeth Taylor’s gown designed by Edith Head. A Place in the Sun (1951)

 Edith Head’s creations graced the screen in over 400 films and many of her designs sparked major fashion trends.  She was a master at capturing the essence of the character and placating even the most difficult actresses.   In 1959 she published a book called “The Dress Doctor”, an autobiography and style guide.  One of her most famous bits of advice, “Your dresses should be tight enough to show you’re a woman and loose enough to show you’re a lady.”  Couldn’t agree more!

What are your favorite iconic looks designed by Edith Head?

 

alison

 

 

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R.I.P. Elizabeth Taylor

Very, very sad news yesterday.  We lost one of the most famous of Hollywood’s leading ladies, the beautiful Elizabeth Taylor. She will surely be missed, not only for her exceptional talent, but for all the contributions she has made to causes, including AIDS research.

Here is a lovely earlier tribute to Liz by Paul Newman, another phenomonal screen legend we lost not too long ago.

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Getting Married in Vintage Style

Vintage style weddings are becoming increasingly popular, with more and more brides looking for ways to make their special day a unique and truly memorable event.  Very often the vintage theme will form around the bride’s preferred era for clothing, enabling her to wear a wedding gown from her favorite decade.

I found this great article on dressing for a vintage wedding.  Good information about bridal styles specific to each decade from the 20′s to the 50′s.

And here is a representative sampling of vintage wedding gowns from the flapper to disco era.

20′s and 30′s art deco elegance from The Frock . They definitely have one of the most impressive collections of gowns on the internet.

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On the left from Damn Good Vintage is a 1940′s satin gown. Perfect for the Hollywood glamour theme.  On the right a 50′s fabulous floaty tulle confection from Wyoming Vintage

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An elegant 60′s net and lace embellished empire gown from Vintage Vixen and another gorgeous offering from The Frock , a  1970′s one shoulder beaded beauty by Halston.

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Heirloom Vintage Wedding Cake Toppers

June is the traditional month for tying the knot, so I thought I’d feature some wedding related vintage goodies.  I just happened to stumble upon this spectacular collection  of restored and redesigned vintage wedding cake toppers from a company called Gulden and Brown.    The perfect touch to a vintage themed wedding, these beautiful recreations are sure to be a treasured memento of that special day.

This cupie doll 1920′s cake topper is, without a doubt,  one of the cutest things I’ve ever seen!  Meticulously embellished with tulle, venetian lace, pearls and organza. The porcelain bride and groom are wearing their original chemise and tuxedo.

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1930′s porcelain couple decked out in their deco finery beneath an arch with three silverized mercury glass bells.

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1940′s Hollywood glamour from the Coast Novelty Co. of Venice, California, meticulously decorated with hand cut embossed velvet flowers, corded sequins and pearls.

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There are several other heirloom quality toppers, including one in a magnificient gothic style. Unfortunately I was not able to copy the picture of that one.  This website also offers stunning vintage wedding gowns and accessories. 

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