Edith Head: Hollywood's First Woman Fashion Designer Essay

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The 1930s ushered in the Golden Age of Hollywood when new technological advances brought lighting, photography, and sound to a new level of excellence. Along with these technical advances, wardrobe departments of major motion picture studios were busy as costume designers, with the assistance of skilled seamstresses, milliners, and tailors, produced stunning garments for glamorous movie stars. During the 1930s and 1940s the field of costume design was dominated by men. But, that didn’t stop Edith Head, who would become one of Hollywood’s most prolific designers, working on more than 500 films, a record for a career such as hers. One thing that separated Edith from her colleagues was that she was making clothes to suit a character; for…show more content…
At this point, Edith enrolled in night classes at first at the Otis Art Institute and later at the Chouinard. Her specialties were landscapes. Edith retreated into her own world while her husband Charles Head traveled and worked. They spent little time together and their lives grew separately. It was her Catholic faith that not only kept her married but also helped her through this trying period. When Howard Greer, chief designer at what would be Paramount, placed an ad in the paper looking for a sketch artists, Edith answered. Because she had no experience in costume design she asked her fellow students at Chouinard to provide some designs which she signed, and headed off to Paramount. Greer was impressed and hired her at fifty dollars a week. She later said of the borrowed portfolio: I was studying seascape and all I could draw was oceans. I needed a portfolio, so I borrowed sketches ­ I didn’t steal them. I asked everybody in the class for a few costume design sketches. And I had 3 the most fantastic assortment you’ve ever seen in your life. When you get a class of forty to give you sketches, you get a nice selection. It never occurred to me that it was quite dishonest. And all the students thought it was fun, too, just like a dare to see if I could get the job. I didn’t say the work was mine. I said “This is the sort of thing we do in our school.” (Head, 19) The pay was good but the work was far from glamorous. Greer was locked in his

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