edith-head

Edith Head, Costume worn by Ginger Rogers as Liza Elliott in Lady in the Dark, 1944.

Ginger Rogers wore this costume for the ‘The Saga of Jenny’ sequence in the musical Lady in the Dark, which was staged in a circus. In 1944, this single costume was the most expensive ever produced in Hollywood. Legendary designer Edith Head created the costume, with strong influence from Mitchell Leisen, a former costume designer turned film director. Rogers wore two versions of the dress, one for singing and static close-ups and a lighter version for dancing.

Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

Edith Head, legendary Hollywood costume designer and winner of 8 Oscars for her work, in a 1949 photo by Bud Fraker

A favorite among actresses, Edith Head dressed everyone from Mae West and Dorothy Lamour in the 1930′s to Marlene Dietrich (Witness for the Prosecution, 1957) and Tippi Hedrin (The Birds, 1963). She was at Paramount Pictures for 43 years before moving to Universal in 1967. Her first Oscar was for The Heiress in 1950, and her last was for The Sting in 1974