All right Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my close-up

26 December 2009

Dressing Hollywood-The Screen Style of Edith Head

What a costume designer does is a cross between magic and camouflage. We create the illusion of changing the actors into what they are not. We ask the public to believe that every time they see a performer on the screen he's become a different person---Edith Head

To Catch a Thief

I have a passion for classic film. I have lost count of the number of times I have watched Roman Holiday, To Catch a Thief, Charade, It Happened One Night, His Girl Friday..What makes a film a Classic is that it stands up to time- still witty, smart, stylish...and always a treat to watch.

Roman Holiday

One of the reasons that I have loved movies from the 30s,40s, 50s... forever is not only the great actors and directors and scripts, but also because of the clothes!!-the clothes that defined memorable moments in a film---can you ever forget Grace Kelly decked in diamonds and chiffon leaning into Cary Grant and asking "Ever have a better offer in your whole life?" Most of those clothes were designed by the legendary Edith Head.

"Gowns by Edith Head" was perhaps the most common film credit to appear on any film roll. Edith Head designed for every major star-Grace Kelly, Betty Davis,Elizabeth Taylor, Sophia Loren,Paul Newman, James Dean, Audrey Hepburn, Cary Grant... Working on over 400 films, very often with Hitchcock, and nominated for an Oscar for an unmatched 35 times -every year from 1948-1966,her Paramount years,winning 8 Academy Awards

including her last in 1967 for The Sting dressing Paul Newman and Robert Redford-not bad work!

This week, December 26-January 3 The MFAFilm Series celebrates the sketches and designs of Edith Head that became integral to screen history . Her years working at Paramount resulted in the most memorable moments on film- all dressed by Edith Head.

Rear Window

Though it is the glamorous entrances in gorgeous gowns that we tend to remember best the genius of Edith Head can be seen in the clothes that surrounded those gowns--Cary Grant dressed in black to catch the elusive "cat" in To Catch a Thief...

Audrey Hepburn in a simple white blouse and skirt,perfect for an innocent Princess on the Town in Roman Holiday...

Kim Novak's dual roles in Vertigo

The sketches and storyboards come to the screen at the MFA and the schedule includes The Heiress, Sunset Boulevard, The Lady Eve,A Place in the Sun, Vertigo, Rear Window, To Catch a Thief and This Gun for Hire. Visit The Museum of Fine Arts for schedule and information.

Another treat..The Victoria and Albert will be exhibiting a collection from Grace Kelly's wardrobe on and off screen from April 17-September 26th.

You can lead a horse to water and you can even make it drink, but you can't make actresses wear what they don't want to wear---Edith Head

All About Eve