Just us, the cameras, and those lovely people out there in the dark!"
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 17, 2010
EDITH HEAD LIVES!
Edith Head straddled most of the 20th century, making her mark on the fashions and looks of the silver screen deities of golden age Hollywood. Though her film legacy can still be viewed, the best way to understand her is to see A Conversation with Edith Head, the one-woman play starring Susan Claassen, and wrtten by her and Paddy Calistro. It opens September 23, 2010 at the historic El Portal Theatre in North Hollywood and runs through October 24, 2010. Susan Claassen brings Edith back to life in a way that can not be missed - she will send thrills down your spine.
The costume design sketch above was done by Edith Head for her own costume where she plays herself in the movie The Oscar, 1966.
Here is Susan Claassen playing Edith Head in Conversations with Edith Head, opening at the El Portal Theatre.
Edith Head became the head designer at Paramount Studio in 1938, following the immensely talented Travis Banton who mentored her. Here is a portrait of her taken at about the time she took over the head costume designer duties.
Trim suits with broad shoulders were popular in the early 1940s when Edith Head made the above costume design sketch. The silhouette changed over the years, but suits remained a staple in her costume designs.
Another Edith Head costume sketch above, this one for Betty Hutton in The Miracle of Morgan's Creek, 1944. This was a smart outfit and coat that Betty wore in this wonderful screwball comedy.
Edith Head's long career meant she designed for movies like Harlow in 1966 when she had been around when the real Jean Harlow was a star in the 1930s. The design above was done for Carrol Baker by Edith Head for her role as Jean Harlow in that film.
The photo above shows Edith Head with Olivia de Havilland. Edith is shown wearing her favored necklace made of antique French ivory theater tickets. She willed the necklace to her friend Elizabeth Taylor, who had always admired it.
Edith Head is shown above in her office at Paramount along with her many costume sketches rendered by artist Grace Sprague. Edith always believed in dressing well but in basic suits that did not compete with the appearance of the stars she dressed. She saved her flamboyant dressing for home.
Hollywood studios and the costume designing process was changing in the 1960s. Her contract at Paramount was not renewed in 1967, where she had been for 44 years. She moved on to Universal Studios, where she remained until her death in 1981. If you want to get a glimpse into her psyche and her soul and have the opportunity, go to the El Portal Theatre and see Susan Claassen's performance, you'll be happy you did.
POSTED BY CHRISTIAN ESQUEVIN AT 7:00 PM
LABELS: BETTY HUTTON, EDITH HEAD, SUSAN CLAASSEN, TRAVIS BANTON
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A BIT ABOUT ADRIAN
The first blog post by the Silver Screen Modiste centered on costume and fashion designer Adrian, and specifically his suit designs. While he was not the first to capture my attention, he soon engulfed all of it. But the other great screen costume designers will also get featured, as well as the stars and studios that brought their work to life. Adrian is more than just the first among equals, however. Genius mingled with wit in equal proportions in his work, and his "droll" sense of humour let the air out of the often over-inflated world of high fashion and movie star egos. And if you wonder why the name of Adrian is not as well known today, or fully commercialized, it's because he wanted it that way. He was Adrian, no one else was. Stay tuned and we'll see more of why he was lionized in his day and still influences current fashion. And like the Renaissance, great costume and fashion designers and artists all influenced each other and the times. This blog will attempt to pay homage to the great work of the Hollywood costume designers of the past.
The Silver Screen Modiste covers classic Hollywood film costume design and its influence on fashion. The designers, the stars and the studios will be interrelated with fashion, art, and modern popular culture. Musical and period costumes will share their colorful images on these pages, where the work of skilled motion picture artists and the movie stars is brought back to life.
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Adrian: Silver Screen to Custom Label - Monacelli Press/Random House, by Christian Esquevin
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