6

Edith Head holds the record for the most Oscars won by a woman: eight.

The costume designer best known for her work with Alfred Hitchcock received her B.A. from UC Berkeley and her M.A. from Stanford. Here is a short list of stars who she dressed over her 50-year career:

Mae West, Frances Farmer, Dorothy Lamour, Veronica Lake, Barbara Stanwyck, Ingrid Bergman, Loretta Young, Bette Davis, Ginger Rogers, Olivia de Haviland, Hedy Lamarr, Gloria Swanson, Elizabeth Taylor, Joan Fontaine, Carmen Miranda, Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly, Jane Wyman, Doris Day, Marlene Dietrich, Rita Hayworth, Kim Novak, Sophia Loren, Natalie Wood, Tippi Hedren, Shirley MacLaine, Katharine Hepburn, Jill Clayburgh, and Steve Martin

9

This chilly ensemble immediately removes all trace of inner warmth from Frances and then the rest of the film is spent gradually restoring it while infusing her character with a dry and quite naughty sense of humor.

During their first meeting, dashing Robie cuts through this glacier easily enough, even receiving an unexpected goodnight kiss. Yet Frances, and by proxy Grace Kelly, has now been established as the principal object of fascination for characters and audience. Prioritizing her as so central to the narrative (directly involving her with Robie), even hints that Frances could possibly be ‘The Cat’, an idea that is subtly reinforced by several costume choices further into the film. (x)

5

How great is Edith Head? She was nominated for 35 academy awards and won eight of them — more wins than any other costume designer. That’s also the most academy awards won by a woman, in any category.

"While other designers were busy starring their clothes in a film, Edith was making clothes to suit a character; for her, the character always came first," Bette Davis wrote. During her career, she designed for some of the biggest stars of Hollywood’s Golden Age –– Elizabeth Taylor, Natalie Wood, Bette Davis, Lucille Ball and Audrey Hepburn.

Edith was a UC Berkeley alum who studied French and began her career working as a language teacher. She began taking drawing classes at night and in 1924, she was hired by Paramount as a costume sketch artist ––despite lacking experience in design–– and worked her way up.

4

Edith Head gown design for Elizabeth Taylor in A Place in the Sun (1951)

Pale yellow strapless bouffant gown with fitted boned bodice composed of ruched ivory tulle over yellow taffeta. The bust is generously embellished with small yellow velvet flowers. The full skirt is formed from three layers of cream tulle and a yellow taffeta underskirt. The top layer of tulle has been added post production but has served in the preservation of this piece. The second layer is garnished with scattered small yellow velvet flowers. There is a Paramount label reading “Elizabeth Taylor.” The style of this gown was copied for the fashion market and became the template for the 1950s prom dress. (via)