Entries in edith head (3)


edith head for lisa fremont

If I were to ever be granted three wises, I know that one of them would be to commission Edith Head to design my entire wardrobe. Above are her personal watercolor + pencil sketches for three of Grace Kelly’s costumes as Lisa Fremont in "Rear Window" - they were auctioned off at Christie’s this past November, fetching upwards of $12,821. I've been dying to have a dress made just like the one in the third sketch for years! It seems very timely as ballet-inspired clothing is all the rage these days, don't you think?

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on this day in history...

American costume designer and eight-time Academy Award Winner
Edith Head was born in Searchlight, Nevada.

(photo by Allan Grant for Life)

the audrey auction

I'm having way too much fun researching a December ‘09 auction of a collection of Audrey Hepburn’s couture clothing, accessories, and letters. Held at Kerry Taylor Auctions, around thirty-six dresses, belts, hats, and letters (“in which she describes an early film break, her proposed wedding to James Hanson and the time she spent filming ‘Roman Holiday’”) from 1953 to the late ‘60s were on the block. Hepburn is perhaps the most notable style icon of the twentieth century. Often times, she acted as her own stylist. “Like Dietrick, Audrey’s fittings became the ten-hour not the ten-minute variety,” said famed costume designer Edith Head. “She knew exactly how she wanted to look or what worked best for her, yet she was never arrogant or demanding. She had an adorable sweetness that made you feel like a mother getting her only daughter ready for prom.” How I wish I had the chance to meet Miss Hepburn!

The crown jewel of the auction was Audrey’s wedding dress designed for her by the Fontana Sisters for her planned marriage to James Hanson. Rather than put this story in my own words, I’d like to quote an article by ArtDaily:
"In 1952, whilst Audrey Hepburn was filming `Roman Holiday' with Gregory Peck in Rome, she approached the Fontana sisters to ask them to make her bridal gown. Signora Micol Fontana said that the 23 year old Hepburn was `young, fresh, on top of the world’. She used to slip away from the set to take refuge in the sewing rooms and discuss the dress. ‘Audrey wanted complete discretion and had lots of fittings’. Some weeks later when Audrey called off the planned wedding to James Hanson she asked the eldest of the sisters, Zoe, to give the dress away. ‘I want my dress to be worn by another girl for her wedding, perhaps someone who couldn't ever afford a dress like mine, the most beautiful, poor Italian girl you can find.’ Zoe's search centerd on the town of Latina which had been founded by the fascists in 1932. The dress was given to a poverty stricken young Italian girl called Amabile Altobella, which coincidentally was the same Christian name as the Fontana sister's mother. Amabile visited Rome just once to have the dress adapted by the Fontana sisters for her to wear at her own wedding to farm worker Adelino Solda with whom she remained happily married, producing three daughters and five grandchildren. Amabile said ‘I have had a happy marriage, so the dress brought me luck’. The town council gave the young couple kitchen furniture and even organised a honeymoon for them in Paris. After the event she carefully wrapped the dress in tissue paper and stored it away without disturbing it for decades. It was not until 2002, when Micol Fontana, the last survivor of the three sisters traced the gown for a retrospective exhibition of their work that it was re-discovered. It is sold with a photograph of Audrey wearing the original Fontana gown and a letter from the vendor confirming the provenance. It is estimated to fetch £8000-12000.”

(photos by peter macdiarmid/getty images; via)