Edith Head

Born Edith Claire Posener in San Bernardino, California, eight-times Oscar-winner Head is the most famous costume designer in Hollywood history.


Gaining a BA from Berkeley and an MA from Stanford, Head was working as a language teacher at the Hollywood School for Girls in 1932, when she bluffed her way into Paramount's wardrobe department.

She had studied art at the Otis Art Institute and the Chouinard School. When Howard Greer hired her as a sketch artist, she underwent studio training. Later, when Travis Banton took over, Head stayed on to work for him.

She became Head Designer at Paramount in 1938, and was attached to virtually every prestige production there over the next thirty years.

Head’s most influential creations included Dorothy Lamour's sarong in 'The Jungle Princess', Bette Davis' evening gown for 'All About Eve' and Audrey Hepburn’s shoulder-tied boatneck in 'Sabrina'.

Always prolific, Head frequently averaged 35 film projects a year. She designed for such huge names as Alfred Hitchcock, Elizabeth Taylor, Jerry Lewis, Gary Cooper and Bing Crosby.

In 1947, the Best Costume Design Oscar was introduced, and Head was eventually nominated for a total of 40 Academy Awards. She won the accolade eight times - for films including 'All About Eve' (1949), 'Samson and Delilah' (1949), 'Roman Holiday' (1953), 'Sabrina' (1954) and 'The Sting' (1973).

After 35 years, she left Paramount in 1967 for Universal, where she spent the rest of her career, often drawing upon her knowledge of mid-century fashions for period pieces such as 'Lombard' and 'W.C. Fields and Me'.

Well-known as the author of two books - 'The Dress Doctor' and 'How to Dress for Success' - she appeared as herself in two cameos, in the films 'Lucy Gallant' and 'The Oscar'.

For her last film, 'Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid', in 1980, she deliberately copied many of the creations of her Hollywood rivals, but she died before the film was completed.