Edith Head was an American costume designer who won a record eight Academy Awards for Best Costume Design, starting with The Heiress (1949) and ending with The Sting (1973). Although she worked behind the scenes, Edith was quite the style eyecon. She is well-known for her classic ensembles and unique accessories that created her one-of-a-kind look.
“You can have anything you want in life if you dress for it.” - Edith Head
A petite woman, famous for her sleek bob haircut and signature round sunglasses – Edith Head is truly one of the fashion designer icons of cinema and her designs have left us with some formidable iconic images of women on screen.
After she graduated from Stanford with a degree in French, she took up a teaching post in the Bishop School for Girls. Having been informed that she also had to teach art, Edith went to night classes at Otis Art Institute and later the Chouinard Art School. At this moment, fate played a hand when it turned out that two of her students were daughters of none other than Cecil B DeMille.
“I say sacrifice style any day for becomingness.” - Edith Head
After a visit at Paramount studios, Head was mesmerized by the work of the wardrobe department. She then decided that no matter what she was going to work there. This being said, she now faced a big problem. Edith was unable to draw, she had no practical talent at all in the art department. But as this was a rare job opportunity, she enlisted the help of some colleagues at her art school and submitted their work as her own. Surprise! She got the job. And the rest is history.
"Wild colors and evening pants, anything I want, but when I'm at the studio, I'm always little Edith in the dark glasses and the beige suit. That's how I survived." - Edith Head
During her career Head was nominated for 35 Oscars, and won eight times. She received the awards for The Heiress, Samson and Delilah, All About Eve, A Place in the Sun, Roman Holiday, Sabrina, The Facts of Life and The Sting. In total she has an astonishing 444 costume designer credits from 1925 to 1982. She once said that she had designed costumes for films she had never even seen.
Ms. Head made up for her lack of beauty by developing a personal style with which few could compete. Edith was very careful not to choose pieces that could easily be dated and instead wore no-frills outfits that were simple, stylish and timeless.
Other than her sartorial choices, Edith showed off her style through her accessories and hairstyle. Edith's round glasses and straight bangs were her trademarks and made her easily recognizable to many. Edith’s round glasses, acted as an extension of her bold fashion choices.
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