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)


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.


Edith Head 


Costume sketch for Marlene Dietrich from Witness for the Prosecution



Costume sketch for Elizabeth Taylor from A Place in the Sun



Costume sketch for Doris Day from The Man Who Knew Too Much



Costume sketch for Vera Miles from The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance



Costume sketch for Grace Kelly from The Bridges at Toko-Ri


Costume sketch for Grace Kelly from Rear Window


October 28, 1897: Edith Head is born.

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.

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