The Costume Designer: Edith Head and Hollywood at Bendigo Art Gallery

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Wall of costume design sketches, Image; supplied

While planning my dream trip to see the House of Dior exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria I discovered that Bendigo Art Gallery had an Edith Head exhibition on at the same time. I decided to make a day trip out of Melbourne to check it out and I’m SO glad I did. I took about five hundred photos (cough) and I’ve sorted through them, and included details about the costumes, films and actors who wore them, all this is available in the exhibition and the catalogue.

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Audrey Hepburn’s cream suit from 1957’s Funny Face, image; supplied

Costume design done well, is like the skilfully crafted soundtrack, you don’t really notice it, the characters are so believable it slips under the radar, but remove it and the story is bereft. In Hitchcock’s Vertigo, Kim Novak is one woman literally acting as two, in Vertigo, the costume design is a key plot device. It was this film that I was thinking about in anticipation of visiting the exhibition, The Costume Designer: Edith Head and Hollywood. For more on how Edith Head used costume in Vertigo, have a read of this Clothes on Film post by Iris Veysey (spoiler alert).

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Kim Novak’s green sweater dress worn as ‘Judy’ in Vertigo. Credit; image supplied

I have been a fan of Edith Head for a few years now, but did not really appreciate the scope of her work until preparing to visit this exhibition. Her legacy of work is outstanding, and during her career she became known as a unique personality, cultivating her own look, even becoming a television personality and writer, solving fashion problems for the everywoman. I feel like this exhibition is about showcasing her talent and profiling one of last centuries most prolific and perhaps understated and undervalued costume designers, the exhibition highlights the work of a woman in an industry still dominated by men.

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Pattern and Texture, image supplied

Showcasing costumes created from the 1930s through to the 1960s, many classic, timeless garments, period costume, along with extravagant glamorous gowns, it’s impossible to box Head’s work in, she was a virtuoso in her field. I was bowled over by the garments presented in this exhibition, the installation was impeccable, the garments were accessible, all in all, a very elegantly put together collection.

Edith Head Suits and Tailored costumes

Suits and Tailored costumes

In this post, I share some of my favourite garments, below, a collection that express Head’s skill in working with Pattern and Texture, and are some of my favourite pieces. And I very rarely go in for patterns!

Edith Head Pattern and Texture

Edith Head Pattern and Texture

Hooded coat worn by Barbara Stanwyck The Strange love of Marther Ivers 1946 and Cocktail dress

Hooded coat worn by Barbara Stanwyck in The Strange Love of Marther Ivers, 1946, and Cocktail dress worn by Martha Hyer in Wives and Lovers, 1963

Edtih Head Pattern and Texture cocktail dress worn by Martha Hyer in Wives and Lovers 1963

Cocktail dress worn by Martha Hyer in Wives and Lovers, 1963, detail

Edtih Head Pattern and Textue two suits and shoes

Pattern and Texture two suits and shoes

Edtih Head Pattern and Texture suit

Pattern and Texture suit

So many of the earlier garments bowl you over with that Hollywood glamour that poured out of the film studios in the 40s and 50s, such as the following, which were some of the most stunning in the exhibition.

Edith Head Dressing gown worn by Veronica Lake publicity photo 1942 bodice

Dressing gown worn by Veronica Lake publicity photo, 1942

Edith Head Dressing gown worn by Veronica Lake publicity photo1942 skirt detail

Dressing gown worn by Veronica Lake publicity photo, 1942, skirt detail

Edith Head Grecian Style Gown worn by Lizabeth Scott in I Walk Alone 1947 long shot

Grecian Style Gown worn by Lizabeth Scott in I Walk Alone, 1947

Edith Head Grecian Style Gown worn by Lizabeth Scott in I Walk Alone 1947 waist

Grecian Style Gown worn by Lizabeth Scott in I Walk Alone, 1947

Edith Head Grecian Style Gown worn by Lizabeth Scott in I Walk Alone 1947 detail

Grecian Style Gown worn by Lizabeth Scott in I Walk Alone 1947, detail

Edtih Head nightgown with robe worn by June Allyson in Strategic Air Command 1955 long shot

Nightgown with robe worn by June Allyson in Strategic Air Command, 1955

Edtih Head nightgown with robe worn by June Allyson in Strategic Air Command 1955 detail

Peignoir set worn by Susan Hayward in Where Love has Gone, 1964

Edith Head Ball Gown worn by Natalie Wood in Inside Daisy Clover WB 1965 surround

Ball Gown worn by Natalie Wood in Inside Daisy Clover, 1965

Edtih Head black nightgown worn by Gloria Swanson Sunset Boulevard 1950

Black nightgown worn by Gloria Swanson Sunset Boulevard, 1950

Edith Head Black Nightgown and Pink Nightgown worn by Gloria Swanson in Sunset Boulevard 1950

Black Nightgown and Pink Nightgown worn by Gloria Swanson in Sunset Boulevard, 1950

Edtih Head Evening gown worn by Betty Hutton in Somebody Loves Me PP 1953 bust detail

Evening gown worn by Betty Hutton in Somebody Loves Me, 1953

Edtih Head Evening gown worn by Betty Hutton in Somebody Loves Me PP 1953 skirt detail

Evening gown worn by Betty Hutton in Somebody Loves Me, 1953

Edtih Head two piece performance costume worn by Betty Hutton the Perils of Pauline 1947 sleeve

Two piece performance costume worn by Betty Hutton The Perils of Pauline 1947

These costumes represent a specific period in cinema history, musicals, glamour and wildly over the top production was du jour. It’s less fashion more popular fantasy, escapism and storytelling. You can see this amazing beaded number on youtube, The Perils of Pauline, 1947.

 

Edtih Head two piece performance costume worn by Betty Hutton the Perils of Pauline 1947 side view

The same two piece from The Perils of Pauline, and my favourite, a cocktail dress worn by Joanne Woodward in A New Kind of Love, 1963

Edtih Head Cocktail dress worn by Joanne Woodward in A New Kind of Love PP 1963 front long shot

Cocktail dress worn by Joanne Woodward in A New Kind of Love, 1963

Edtih Head Evening gown worn by Joan Fontaine in Septmber Affair PP 1955 detail

Evening gown worn by Joan Fontaine in September Affair, 1955

Many of the garments on display had a star quality of their own, less cast off from another time, they were characters with personality and presence.

Edith Head Samson and Delilah

Samson and Delilah, 1949

Having watched some early epic films as a child, it was fabulous to see some costumes in the real, I especially enjoyed this collection, if not for the skill of the workshop that produced them, for the kitchy interpretation of historical Egyptian adornment.

Edith Head Ante bellum era Travelling suit worn by Anne Baxter in Three Violent People 1956 and cloak

‘Peacock dress’ worn by Hedy Lamarr in Samson and Delilah, 1949 and cloak

Edtih Head Epic Tales costumes

Epic Tales; Egyptian style costumes

Edtih Head Ejyptain Style costume worn by Nina Foch in The Ten Commandments 1956 black gown long shot

Egyptian style costume worn by Nina Foch in The Ten Commandments, 1956

Edith Head The Ten Commandments Yule Brynner

The Ten Commandments, 1956, Yule Brynner

Edith Head Three Piece worn by Barbara Stanwyck in The Lady Eve

Three Piece worn by Barbara Stanwyck in The Lady Eve, 1941

Edith Head Three Piece worn by Barbara Stanwyck in The Lady Eve detail

Three Piece worn by Barbara Stanwyck in The Lady Eve, 1941, detail

Edith Head Wedding dress worn by Barbara Stanwyck in Sorry Wrong Number bodice detail

Wedding dress worn by Barbara Stanwyck in Sorry Wrong Number, 1948

Edith Head Wedding dress worn by Barbara Stanwyck in Sorry Wrong Number skirt detail

Wedding dress worn by Barbara Stanwyck in Sorry Wrong Number, 1948

Edith Head Wedding dress worn by Barbara Stanwyck in Sorry Wrong Number train view

Wedding dress worn by Barbara Stanwyck in Sorry Wrong Number, 1948

Edith Head Wedding dress worn by Barbara Stanwyck in Sorry Wrong Number

Wedding dress worn by Barbara Stanwyck in Sorry Wrong Number, 1948

Edith Head Costumes

There is so much to see in this exhibition, historical period costume, and some really impressive suits and tailored garments, which just don’t photograph so well behind the glass, including Audrey Hepburn’s cream suit from 1957’s Funny Face. I especially enjoyed seeing design sketches along with the garments, bringing the design process to the fore.

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Illustration by Grace Sprague

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Illustration by Grace Sprague

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Illustration by Grace Sprague

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Illustration by Grace Sprague

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Illustration by Grace Sprague

The Costume Designer features garments worn by Shirley Temple, Gloria Swanson, Veronica Lake, Olivia De Havilland, Jane Russell, Audrey Hepburn, Fred Astaire and Yul Brynner, complementing the costumes on display are film clips and music, and footage of Edith Head at various stages of her career, which are very amusing.

I would love to take my mum to see this exhibition, and I’m planning a summer catching up on some classic cinema.

The Costume Designer: Edith Head and Hollywood
Bendigo Art Gallery, 42 View Street, Bendigo
Exhibition: 29 September 2017 – 21 January 2018

Getting there from Melbs was fairly easy, I took a V Line train from Southern Cross Station, and then had just over two hours each way on the train, it was an easy stroll to the Gallery from the terminal. All in all, a worthwhile day trip, I was impressed with how easy public transport is to use and pay for, while feeling a little daunted by the size of Southern Cross Station!

Thanks Bendigo Art Gallery, and Mark Orlandi for helping with travel arrangements and a complementary pass to the exhibition.

Posted in Australia, Collections, Exhibitions, Film, Heritage, History, International, Movies, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Unwearable: 2010 – 2017 WOW Retrospective Depot Artspace

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Unwearable: 2010 – 2017 WOW Retrospective is Beatrice Carlson’s exclusive exhibition of her last 7 entries into the renowned World of Wearable Art (WOW) Awards, plus a selection of her jewellery design, accessory design and drawings.

Beatrice Carlson is a French New Media artist living in Devonport and an eight-time finalist in the World of WearableArt Awards since 2010. She uses distinctive combinations of materials to create and assemble other-worldly garments, accessories and etchings, each of which speak to a specific theme or narrative.

Perspex, Carlson’s main medium, allows her to work on a large scale with striking colours. Her pieces are the result of modern skills and traditional art form; they are in constant movement, evolving through different techniques and mediums in all the forms of her practice: Garments, Photography, Etching, Jewellery and large prints on Perspex.

Carlson addresses the issue of identity by challenging us to rise above the social constraints of prescribed fashion trends:

“As a woman, a foreigner, a non-English speaking person, a fashion designer; my most recent work talks about identity. By trying so hard to identify ourselves, trying to fit in a group, to stick to an image, we are losing our uniqueness, our playfulness, our identity”.

Carlson’s WOW garments are heavily influenced by Pasifika and New Zealand themes and motifs, which essentially stem from the deep affinity and sense of belonging she feels for her adopted country of New Zealand. From her early fascination with fashion at the young age of 5, Carlson’s impressive assortment of work in a diverse range of media, reflect the natural evolution of her art and design skill.

Unwearable: 2010 – 2017 WOW Retrospective opens in the Vernacular Lounge at Depot Artspace on Friday 10 November, 6pm – 8pm alongside Jacqueline Macleod’s show, Memory for $ale and Robyn Gibson’s show, Solace in Familiar Things.

http://depotartspace.co.nz/

http://www.beatricecarlson.com/

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National Embroidery School 2018 and ANZEG conference

July 2018 sees the Nelson Embroiderers’ Guild hosting the National Embroidery School, the National Embroidery Exhibition and the ANZEG biennial conference. These events are held every two years and are the largest gathering of embroiderers and textile artists in New Zealand.

Phillipa Rabbits at Dawn

Rabbits at Dawn by Phillipa Turnbull

The week includes outstanding exhibitions, special interest group meetings, a Merchant’s Mall, lectures and workshops.

If you are interested in the Textile Arts including; felting, experimenting with and embellishing with various materials, embroidery techniques or if you want to look at some stunning embroideries never seen before in New Zealand, and lots more, then check out our website www.conference2018.co.nz for more details.

Tumbleweeds Series 1 by Hazel Blomkamp

The programme includes workshops by Phillipa Turnball (Britian), who specialises in historic embroidery styles, and Hazel Blomkamp (South Africa).

If you are a Textile Artist you may like to enter a piece in one of the Exhibition categories, see www.conference2018.co.nz/exhibition-themes/ for more information.

If you would like more information approach a member of your local Embroiderers’ Guild and ask if you can have a look at their Registration Book, download a copy from our website or email Karen Richards workshops@conference2018.co.nz

We Three Kings by Phillipa Turnball

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Hats off to Heritage – Parnell, 4 November 2017

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Saturday 4 November, Kinder House, 2 Ayr Street, Parnell, 5-7pm

Join Parnell Heritage in celebrating the life of 1950’s Parnell milliner, Lindsay Kennett.

The Melbourne Cup inspired event features Hilary Hunt, biographer of master milliner, Lindsay Kennett, to talk about Lindsay whose reputation and salon flourished in Parnell during the 1950’s and 1960’s. At the event, bubbly and canapés will be served and hats, both old and new, will be on display.

Parnell retailer Hattitude will be displaying their range of more contemporary hats, and  Doris de Pont of the Fashion Museum will be  Judge for “Best Hat” and “Best Vintage Hat”.

So come along in your best hat & finest ensemble – but with or without a hat, please come along and enjoy this end-of-year event!

Tickets $25 each or $45 for two, including bubbles and canapés. Bookings are preferred, but door sales (cash only) will be available. To book, enquiries@parnellheritage.org.nz or call 09 846 7661 (Sue).

http://parnellheritage.org.nz/event/hats-off-heritage/

Hats A4

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Fraser Crowe launch and Artweek event

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Great new: Kim Fraser and Deborah Crowe are back, with the Fraser Crowe label and website now live. If you’ve seen them round at CTANZ symposia or other events swathed in their gorgeous fabrics, these are now, as promised, in production.

The website features the soft scarves, jackets and dresses, designed to fit most sizes and shapes, and produced locally and sustainably.

If you’re in Auckland and would like to visit the studio, Kim and Deborah are part of the programme for Artweek, with an informal 45-minute discussion about the relationship between fashion and art at 2pm, with the studio open until 5pm.

Saturday 14 October, talk: 2pm; studio open: 2pm – 5pm

Studio 1B, 1B Ponsonby Rd

http://artweekauckland.co.nz/events/ponsonby/5662329727352832

If you can’t make it along to the studio, check out the website and blog to find out more about the design process and production values, and what they’ve been making.

Fraser Crowe

https://frasercrowe.com/

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Unbound: Liberating women

We are delighted to announce the 2018 CTANZ symposium!

Unbound: Liberating women

21-23 September 2018, Otago Polytechnic, Dunedin

Recognising 125 years of women’s suffrage in New Zealand, the 2018 CTANZ symposium offers an opportunity to explore the past, present or future roles of dress and textiles in women’s suffrage and other liberating moments. How do cloth, clothes, fashion and art reveal, reflect or challenge social limits for women?

In the spirit of the early suffragists, how might they empower futures and/or relate to feminist projects? How are they used to give or constrain political voice? When is cloth revolutionary?

By focusing on liberating women, Unbound celebrates the power of cloth and clothes in the visual, material world and explores how women make, use, transform and transcend boundaries.

Themes include

  • Liberating women
  • Diversity, equity, participation
  • Women’s work
  • Dressing for revolution
  • Political cloth
  • Gender and diversity
  • Cloth and agency, bound and unbound

Save the date for Dunedin, Saturday 22 and Sunday 23 September 2018

With an exhibition opening on 21 September 2018

Closing date for abstracts will be 1 June 2018

Watch this space for information on submissions for the symposium and for the juried textile exhibition that will run alongside the symposium.

Unbound: Liberating women

Dunedin, September 2018

Costume and Textile Association of New Zealand

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Auckland’s famous Vintage Textile Fair is THIS SUNDAY!

It’s that time of the year! The Auckland Vintage Textile Fair time!
And CTANZ will be there with our own table – do come & say hello!

When: THIS SUNDAY! 27th August 2017
From: 10AM to 4PM
Where: Tasman Room, Alexander Park Raceway, cnr Greenland & Manukau Roads, Auckland
Entrance fee: $10.00 (Door Sales Only)
Parking: Plenty of it and it’s FREE!

About
This is the once a year, one day only place to purchase original items for that special occasion, project, interior, or something to transform the ordinary into the extraordinary.

For sale will be a marvellous array of genuine vintage and retro dresses and gowns, hats and handbags, linen, lace, quilts, embroidery, passmenterie, fabrics, buttons, gloves, magazines, trimmings, compacts, bridal accoutrements, jewellery, patterns, and so much more.

This special Spring event will be of interest to fashion students and designers, collectors, museums, quilters, creatives, historians, jewellers, film stylists, textile designers, theatre companies, or anyone with an interest in antique and vintage textiles and clothing.

Posted in Auckland, Embroidery, fairs, Fashion, Favourite things, Jewellery, Local events, Shopping, Uncategorized, vintage | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Masterworks Gallery, 30 July-19 August 2017

Craig McIntosh, Becky Bliss, Neke Moa, Stephen Bradbourne, Lisa West, Ross Malcolm.

Craig McIntosh, Becky Bliss, Neke Moa, Stephen Bradbourne, Lisa West, Ross Malcolm.

Two new exhibitions with costume and textile interest open at Masterworks Gallery in Auckland at the end of July. Weaver Christopher Duncan is part of  Room for Conversation, with ceramicist Aaron Scythe and glass artist Layla Walter. Duncan’s work is linen, cotton and silk; some silks are vintage, others dyed with Tasmanian Blackwood or walnut.

Christopher Duncan

Christopher Duncan

Scythe also features in the other exhibition opening at the same time, Pretty and Practical: The Button Show. The show’s title comes from a series of buttons of the same name made in the 80s by feted New Zealand jeweller Warwick Freeman, some of which are included in the exhibition.

Frances Stachl, Jane Dodd, Lisa Woods, Fran Allison, Mary Curtis.

Frances Stachl, Jane Dodd, Lisa Woods, Fran Allison, Mary Curtis.

Inspired by conversations with clients and artists about textile art and projects that noted the scarcity of the kinds of buttons that complement such projects, the gallery invited its artists  to design and make some buttons. The response was ‘overwhelming’, and unique, handcrafted buttons in glass, ceramic, pearl, bone or metal have been arriving for the opening on Sunday 30 July.

The buttons live up to the title and brief: works of art to delight the senses that are still functional. Pretty and Practical is a collector’s dream, the answer to the maker’s dilemma of embellishing that garment with a worthy button; a delicious detail for a special textile object.

Jane Dodd - Bone 'Ghost Brooches'

Jane Dodd – Bone ‘Ghost Brooches’

Ross Malcolm 'Akeake Button' mounted on foliage card

Ross Malcolm ‘Akeake Button’ mounted on foliage card

Warwick Freeman 'Weka' and 'Star' buttons

Warwick Freeman ‘Weka’ and ‘Star’ buttons

Lisa West 'Wolf Button'

Lisa West ‘Wolf Button’

Jane Dodd 'Pearl Ghost Buttons'

Jane Dodd ‘Pearl Ghost Buttons’

Aaron Scythe 'Ceramic Mountain Buttons'

Aaron Scythe ‘Ceramic Mountain Buttons’

 

Photographs supplied by Masterworks (weaving photo by Christopher Duncan).

 

 

 

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Call for papers for Journal of Textile Design Research and Practice

The Journal of Textile Design Research and Practice has just issued a Call for Papers with a deadline of 1 October 2017 (see http://tinyurl.com/y8f4w4ck).  Accepted papers will either be included in themed issues for 2018 or become part of a general issue.

The Call Themes are:

  • Utilising Archives and Collections for Textile Education, Industry and Practice
  • Textiles and Co-creation  ​
  • ‘Bio’ Textiles

Further information is available from the Journal of Textile Design Research and Practice website  http://tinyurl.com/y8f4w4ck.

Submissions can take one of the following forms and the instructions for authors page contains advice for authors.

  • Academic research papers (approximately 5,000 – 8,000) words;
  • Practitioner interviews or studies (approximately 6,000) words;
  • Position papers and reports of research currently in progress (approximately 3,000 words);
  • Book and exhibition reviews (approximately 500 – 2,000 words)

 

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Land Girls and Lifesavers, painting by Sally Spicer

Navy officer flyer

In Land Girls and Lifesavers, Sally Spicer has created paintings and prints that observe the varied lives and contributions of New Zealand women during World War II. Sally, who specialises in portraiture, worked from black and white photos from the 1930s and 40s to explore her subject.

Three ladies

Three ladies, Sally Spicer.

Some of the works show women who went to war: as nurses, and as naval officers. However, the continuation of daily life has received the larger part of Sally’s attention, as she venerates the smaller moments in these women’s lives, as mothers, friends and wives. There are the women who fulfilled roles vacated by men; such as the so called “land girls” who worked on farms, and the volunteer surf lifesavers. The mundane, the challenging, and the joyful moments are treated with equal respect.

Waiata

Waiata, Sally Spicer.

Sally’s works in oil paint re-imagine her subjects in full, rich colour. She pays special attention to fabric and pattern, hinting at her interest in the small details. The drypoint and linocut prints show a simplified, graphic technique, and Sally’s strong background in drawing. Sally enjoys vintage style, so the hair and clothing of this time were a big attraction for her. Her endless fascination with people, faces and expressions is explored also, and she enjoyed the opportunity to observe the way faces can differ from era to era.

Sally works from a studio at her home in Whangarei.

In Conversation

In Conversation, Sally Spicer.

Exhibition runs from August 10 – August 24, at Yvonne Rust Gallery, Quarry Arts Centre, Whangarei. More details at on the Facebook event page.

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