Edith Head & Hollywood, Bendigo

This weekend, I visited the Edith Head & Hollywood Exhibition at Bendigo.  Edith Head was a famous Hollywood costume designer who designed costumes for old Hollywood.  She originally got the job without formal training by submitting sketches from her school students.  However, Edith soon proved she was worthy of the appointment, and she went on to dress many leading ladies and gents.

Edith herself dressed in a signature style her whole life, including the round glasses that were tools of the trade and her distinctive helmet hair do.  She made her own clothes on shades of beige, black, white and brown  so that she did not upstage the stars. 

The exhibition features original sketches, costumes, photos and film.  A great example is the trilogy below featuring a black evening gown worn by Natalie Wood as Maggie in The Great Race:

Many of the costumes featured either photos of the costumes on the actresses and actors next to the costume itself so that you could see how the costume looked in the film.

Barbara Stanwyck

Olivia de Havilland

Barbara Stanwyck

Sketch for Lucy Gallant

Marlene Dietrich

Mae West

Edith at work

Jane Fonda, Barefoot in the Park

Shirley Maclaine

Juliet Prowse, GI Blues

Where colour film was available featuring the costumes, it was sometimes shocking to see how much the colour of the fabric had faded with time.  Take this example of Hedy Lamarr's peacock dress from Sampson and Delilah:

The once vibrant blue has faded to a greeny brown:

Paulette Goddard

Veronica Lake

Dorothy Lamour

Lizabeth Scott

Veronica Lake

The exhibition also featured Edith's Oscar for Roman Holiday.  It was fun to see an Oscar in real life - I had previously only seen one on television.

Edith Head & Hollywood is a fabulous exhibition, and well worth seeing for lovers of film, costume and fashion.  It is on until 21 January 2018 at Bendigo Art Gallery, Bendigo, Victoria.


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