I always love to visit the National Arts Club for their fancy decor and interesting programs put on by the National Arts Club Fashion Committee. This weekend I went to see a play starring Susan Claassen, Conversations with Edith Head. She’s been touring the country telling the Edith’s story for the last few years, but this was the first stop in New York. Quotables from the play include that she would make “…the girls look better than they were…, give them more butt,” and that she always wanted to “look like Shirley Temple.” Susan made everyone laugh during the play when she stated that “several young ladies come to me in blue jeans with no underwear on underneath.” When asked about Edith’s biggest regrets, she said it was “never dressing Marilyn Monroe.”
Susan took me back to sitting and talking with my grandmother, who was quite a master seamstress herself. Most of us these days do not think about putting together a beautiful dress as the ready-to-wear market has taken over and most likely people will not be returning to sewing their own clothing. Lots of folk came out to see the play and many I suppose were from Edith’s era. I even ran into Jean and Valerie, mature women bloggers who looked absolutely fabulous. Most of the crowd including myself wore a summer dress or suit, falling somewhere under that Spring Garden Party look. I also met Ellen Christine, a couture milliner, who showed off her beautiful hat for the camera. It was a great time.
1. Edith Head had no prior experience in art or costume design before she was hired by Paramount Pictures as a costume sketch artist in 1924.
2. She’s the most honored costume designer in American history; she won 8 Oscars and received 35 Academy Award nominations
3. Edna Mode in Disney’s Pixar The Incredibles Movie (2004) was modeled after her
4. Her trademark “sunglasses” weren’t really sunglasses, they were blue-lensed glasses that allowed her to see what a costume would look like on Black and White film
5. From 1927-1979, she dressed about every important actress in Hollywood including Dorothy Lamour, Bette Davis, Elizabeth Taylor, Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly
6. She presided over Alfred Hitchcock’s wardrobe department on 11 movies