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Edith Head: The Fifty-Year Career of Hollywood's Greatest Costume Designer Hardcover – October 5, 2010
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The Independent (UK), 10/4/10
"There’s fierce, and there’s Edith Head. The name to drop in the golden age of Hollywood, Head was wardrobe consultant on Rear Window and All About Eve, to name a couple of classics.
This stunning new book chronicles her 50-year career with sketches and archive material."
Harper’s Bazaar, October 2010
"It’s a must-have book for connoisseurs of fashion and film alike.”
Donna Marie Smith, Palm Beach Cty. Lib. Syst., FL- Library Journal’s Xpress Review 10/29/10
"The golden age of Hollywood sparkled with glamorous stars and extravagant cinematic productions. Costume designer Edith Head won five Oscars and epitomized—along with actors she clothed such as Barbara Stanwyck, Grace Kelly, and Audrey Hepburn—the star quality of these heady days. Jorgensen (editor, Peterson's Photographic magazine) captures a behind-the-scenes look at the world and work of this dedicated, prolific artist. He includes background information and gorgeous color photographs and illustrations of the costumes she meticulously designed. While incorporating biographical information about Head, Jorgensen focuses primarily on the clothes, which perfectly personified the characters in films like All About Eve, Roman Holiday, and Sunset Boulevard.
Verdict For fans of classic Hollywood movies and students of fashion, photography, and film. Those who want a more in-depth look at the personal life of this iconic Hollywood figure should read David Chierichetti's Edith Head: The Life and Times of Hollywood's Celebrated Costume Designer.
BookPage, December 2010
“…scrupulously researched and handsomely assembled work… Filled with pithy anecdotes and never-before-seen sketches, Edith Head is the book for the costume design enthusiast.
InStyle Australia December 2010
“This lust-have new tome reveals the story behind the costumes.”
Tucson Citizen’s Shelf Life, 12/8/10
"In this beautifully executed book filled with more than 350 images, Head’s work is documented and put into historical context providing readers with a rare behind-the-scenes look at how Hollywood design evolved. This is a fascinating book which is a virtual treasure chest of film stills, costume sketches, tests, and even fabric samples. The text by Jay Jorgensen, a longtime editor for Petersen’s Photographic magazine and photo editor of Palm Springs Life, adds just the right touch."
Antique Trader, 12/30/10
“The anecdotes were so intriguing, I found myself unable to stop turning the pages. … In addition to the fascinating stories, there are page after page of stunning photos and original Edith Head costume sketches; the book is illustrated with more than 300 large, clear photographs. The large format and heavy, quality paper are a pleasure to behold. It could be classified as a “coffee table” book, but that description seems to fall short, as it offers so much more. And the presentation is attractive right down to the end papers, which are a montage of Edith Head sketches. … The book has significant entertainment and informational value; anyone who is even remotely interested in Hollywood history, popular culture or fashion will find “Edith Head” worthwhile.”
“The book is a treat. A spectacular repository of on-set pictures of Ms. Head at work, plus her costume designs, and even a recipe for Chicken and Potatoes Casa Ladera (her home in the 50s), we get a full-bodied picture of her career . . . . fun . . . beautiful.”
“[Author Jay Jorgensen’s] pictures are a revelation. He has excellent images of Head's designs, at their best when based on character rather than dazzle.”
“Edith Head: The Fifty-Year Career of Hollywood’s Greatest Costume Designer is a beautifully done book. The flow of the chapters, the extensive photos comprised of stars and the costumes alone are quite remarkable and create a fascinating read for Hollywood fashion aficionados.”
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
If you can manage to ignore the typos, you may find the placement of images occasionally mystifying, with photos not showing up until 6 or 8 pages after the costumes were described. And while I was hoping for insight into Edith Head's character and motivation, after a certain point most of the content is devoted to a litany of costume descriptions.
While the book itself is a magnificent production, including the graphics, layout, photography and cover fabric, there are a few aspects that go wanting, but do not detract from anything but the highest recommendation.
I find that the pictorial coverage is most stingy with her designs for The Ten Commandments, even though the picture of Anne Baxter's elegant and stylized portrayal of Nefretiri is captured by the one and only photograph devoted to this motion picture.
Of special note is that despite the computer and editorial staff, the text which is sufficient except again for The Ten Commandments, has numerous spelling, syntactical, and possibly typographical errors. While I think nobody can attest to any accuracy regarding her early years, nor certain facts regarding her most personal interior life, the text is informative, and not burdensome in presentation of her typical daily activities. It is to the point!
It is especially a noteworthy book because we are treated to photography that we have never seen in other books about this most highly-acclaimed and most sensitive artist. While one may find that she may have been highly protective of her billing and her Oscars, one understands that it was out of necessity, due both to her formulative years and instinct to guard and protect her artistry. Had she not guarded her designs, one can only imagine that the system in which she worked could have concealed her rightful acknowledgements.
I applaud both Edith Head for giving so many of us such magnificent pleasure over so many decades, and for the author and staff who made this book happen.
Ray W. Clarke
Cleveland & Palm Beach
This coffee table book is part biography of Edith, part fashion bio of the costumes she made for films, part gossip dropper of the lives on the people she worked with. Don't be fooled by the books height or size. You aren't getting your money's worth as most of the pages are "filler."
I purchased this book back in January, but held back posting a review until I finished reading it. I kept hoping, thinking, the book would improve. But the longer I examined it, the more faults I found with it.
Firstly, Edith's name is linked to over 1000+ films; of that 500 or so, she personally designed and costumed herself. From that, we get only a scant 100 or less films. Also, for reasons I can't fathom, we are shown pictures from films Edith had nothing to do with (where she received name credit, but didn't actually design the costumes for). While it's neccesary, of course, to address the Givenchy and "The Sting" controversies, among others, it's a waste of space to include pictures of costumes she didn't design.
Compounding this problem is the many, many, many of the costumes are described and not shown. With the exception of 3-6 films, most films are alloted only 1 or 2 pictures. In addition, most of the shots are publicity shots and don't always show the costumes at their best angle to be able to study and admire the craftmanship Edith put into making them.
Then, we come to pictures of Edith. There are 20+ (I counted) pictures of her sketching or looking at sketches.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I bought this for a friend who is a Hollywood officianato. She had a copy that someone stole from her, so I gave her this as a birthday gift. She is really happy with it.Published 6 months ago by Charlene Godard
I read the book and found it OK. Interesting, nice pictures. I would have preferred something with more depth. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Edith C. Lee
Brilliant book. Not only full of fascinating information, but the sketches and photos of the costumes bring the brilliance of her work to life.Published 19 months ago by Lyn Turner
As a young fashion designer, I decided to buy this beautiful book in hopes of learning more about Edith's career and personal background. Read morePublished 22 months ago by kannhughes
Edith Head was the best designer in the movies. I actually met nearly all the stars she designed for and they looked great.
Men and women. Read more
I believe Edith Head is one of the first film costumers I learned of, and I am happy to have her life story.Published on June 20, 2014 by Joan Hemm
Very interesting woman, amazing talent, and fun inside look at Hollywood. Well written and the photgraphs are stunning. Read morePublished on February 4, 2014 by Lexophelia
LOVE this book. Great coffee book. Inspirational with fantatstic stories and photos from a time when hollywood was really beautiful and glamorous! Wish it was like that today.Published on January 3, 2014 by Elaine Armstrong