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. - Edith Head
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
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)
“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.
Off-white strapless layered chiffon gown worn by Elizabeth Taylor in “A Place in the Sun” (1951).
Designed by the legendary Edith Head. The style was copied over and over again by New York designers and as it became the fashion rage of high society, so it began to invade high school proms and wedding chapels too.
Over her fifty-four-year career, Edith Head earned eight Academy Awards (from a total of thirty-five nominations), the most of any woman in film history. Born Edith Claire Posener in San Bernardino, Head began her prolific career as a costume designer at Paramount Studios toward the end of the silent film era and at the start of the “golden age” of Hollywood - an age which she shaped through her designs - in 1923. In 1938, she became the first woman to head a design department at a major film studio when she became the chief designer at Paramount, a position which she held until her move to Universal Pictures in 1967. The eight films which she received Academy Awards for Best Costume Design were: The Heiress (1950), Samson and Delilah (1951), All About Eve (1951), A Place in the Sun (1952), Roman Holiday (1954), Sabrina (1955), The Facts of Life (1961), and The Sting (1974). She passed away in 1981 - four years after receiving her last Academy Award nomination.