The Costume Designer: Edith Head and Hollywood.
Stories from the past
From the 1930s to the 1950s period dramas and Westerns were very much the bread-and-butter of Hollywood. A studio wardrobe department was expected to produce costumes as close to the originals as possible, and Edith Head had assistants who would undertake significant research to achieve this. Period garments also gave costume designers more freedom to create extravagant costumes that utilised long-forgotten or out-of-favour techniques. Some of Head’s most notable period costumes include soutache embroidery, braiding, rickrack, velvet and lace, adding a richness to their design and alluding to earlier times. Janet Leigh’s ornate high-Victorian gown from Houdini (1953) and the Edwardian-style suit worn by Lillian Gish in Miss Susie Slagle’s (1946) both offer excellent examples of Head’s use of traditional techniques to create a window on the past.
On until 21 January!