Dressing Up the Stars: The Story of Movie Costume Designer Edith Head

Dressing Up the Stars: The Story of Movie Costume Designer Edith Head
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Release Date
September 20, 2022
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Discover the true story of how a shy miner’s daughter became one of the most legendary costume designers in Hollywood in this inspiring nonfiction picture book biography.

As a child in the small mining town of Searchlight, Nevada, Edith Head had few friends and spent most of her time dressing up her toys and pets and even wild animals using fabric scraps. She always knew she wanted to move somewhere full of people and excitement. She set her sights on Hollywood and talked her way into a job sketching costumes for a movie studio.

Did she know how to draw or sew costumes? No. But that didn’t stop her!

Edith taught herself and tirelessly worked her way up until she was dressing some of the biggest stars of the day, from Audrey Hepburn to Grace Kelly to Ginger Rogers. She became the first woman to head a major Hollywood movie studio costume department and went on to win eight Academy Awards for best costume design—and she defined the style of an era.

Editor review

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Midcentury Fashion Icon
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Born in 1897, Edith Head grew up in Nevada and spent a lot of time dressing up animals, stuffed and otherwise! This was not an uncommon occupation for a young girl at the time, since sewing was a very useful skill, but in this case, it helped her to become one of the most iconic dress designers in Hollywood's history. Briefly describing the different paths her life took, this book examines her drive and creative spirit, and shows that even when obstacles appear in the path, perseverance can help keep people on the path to success.
Good Points
Head is certainly an absolutely fascinating historical figure, and I've read several books about her. I even own a copy of her wonderfully outdated "How To Dress For Success"! I'm not entirely sure how many readers of picture books will be familiar with her work, but the message of the book will stll ring true with many readers. The illustrations are interesting and the clothes that Edith wears throughout the book echo the dress she wore when she won an academy award.

There are a lot of picture book biographies about women in the twentieth century, from politicians like Patsy Mink in Bryant's Fall Down Seven Times, Stand Up Eight: Patsy Takemoto Mink and the Fight for Title IX to cooks and authors like Alice Waters in Stanley's Alice Waters Cooks Up a Food Revolution, but I haven't seen many representing the behind the scenes work in Hollywood. Robinson's Out of the Shadows: How Lotte Reiniger Made the First Animated Fairytale Movie would be the notable exception. Certainly, lovers of classic mid twentieth century cinema will be enthralled with this coverage of Head's challenging and interesting life.
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