Sunday, March 14, 2010
Edith Head was a genius, and had a reign over the dressing of Hollywood, back in the day. She not only was a costumer for many a movie, but she had her own ventures, too. Smart cookie, this one.
She served as the official fashion consultant for members of the Academy or, as she called it "governor of hemlines and bodices," making sure that anyone associated with the Oscar awards, be it presenter, nominee or performer, showed up properly dressed. Cher even joked about this at the Oscars, some years later, saying that she had her postcard telling her how to "dress like a professional actress." (That was in the year of her Bob Mackie bikini - mohawk outfit, which would've given Ms. Head the vapors.)
Ms. Head also gave fashion advice on TV, on Art Linkletter's House Party show, and fashioned a line of teenaged clothing that was sold in department stores nationwide. Those outfits were inspired by Paramount's top movies of the day, and I'd sure love to see some of them, and match them up with the movie. But the most interesting thing that Edith Head did as a "side" job was to do housecalls to people like Barbara Stanwyck and Loretta Young, acting as their personal stylist. I must say, I'd love to open my door and see the bestectacled Edith Head standing there in her shades (which were not sunglasses, but pink hued, to help her see the clothing as the camera would), just waiting to dress me like a goddess.
She'd be here a while.
And Ms. Edith Head is the one we have to thank for what is probably my favorite Oscar dress of all time: this ice blue confection, worn by Grace Kelly in 1955 and cut from French silk that cost $4000 -- for the fabric alone! The aquamarine fabric is dusted with mother of pearl beads, but no sequins. As Edith Head said, "some people need sequins, others don't." Whether that pertained to Miss Kelly's beauty or Ms. Head's designing skills, I'm not sure, but I do know that what the master and her muse created is the stuff of legend.