Edith Head Exhibition at Bendigo Art Gallery

Edith Head Exhibition at Bendigo Art Gallery

A sweet opportunity… After a fabulous weekend in Melbourne, teaching at the Stitches and Craft Show, we drove the long way home and stopped off in Bendigo to catch this amazing exhibition. I’m not very good at giving myself time off for rest and recreation but I’ve long been aware of the great work they do at the Bendigo Art Gallery. And although the show has ended I’ve selected a handful of my favourite images from the show to share with you here. In particular the main exhibition image below: I’d love a pair of sunglasses just like Edith’s. They’re so stylish!

For everyone that couldn’t make it to this exhibition, I have the following excerpts and observations for you. My favourite quote from the show:

‘A dress should be tight enough to show you’re a woman and loose enough to prove you’re a lady.’

Below, a dazzling dress design of Ancient Egyptian influence, in illustration and real life, that would make a worthy Pattern Puzzle.  And note, that all ideas do not come out exactly as the designer imagines.  The slight variation in drape and fit is the result of dislocation of idea to reality.  Something we designers learn to live with very quickly.

The sketch is only the beginning of a long and sometimes complicated process to arrive at a stunning outfit. Note both designer and illustrator have signed these glorious sketches.

Not all designers can draw and many use professional illustrators to communicate their ideas to clients, stars and managers.  What was very clear in this exhibition is that although Edith could illustrate, many of her designs were rendered by others.

The cropped detail in the illustration (below) shows a delightful and lively use of brush work in this ink and wash fashion illustration.

And of all the fabulous creations in this show this dress below has to be my favourite.  The simplicity of design with the luxury fabric is a perfect combination.

The influence of Ancient Egypt is present in many of the shows gowns and was a popular source of design for mid-century (20th) costume artists.

And for the last; a very special image. The gown is beautiful but the expression on the actress’s face, as she’s chatted-up by the late, great Elvis Presley, is pure gold!

Addendum 01.02.2018 – Huge thanks to a reader in Portland, Maine, USA who was able to name the actress in this last image as Leslie Caron.

‘I loved reading this article- thank you! Leslie Caron, so beautiful, looks stunning in that last dress. 
Best from Portland, Maine, USA’
Addendum 05.02.2018 – From Suzanne Scott an update on the above image.
I believe that is Juliet Prowse rather than Leslie Caron. Juliet starred with Elvis in G.I. Blues and wore a wonderful “washboard” dress – wide slats like those in a car wash in the skirt of a dress in a dance number. 
She was awesome! 
Thanks for the memory! 
Anita McAdam
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