Costume design

Edith Head is one of my favors costume designer, and she was a popular costume artist that was nominated various times for Academy Awards and won eight. She attended Berkley and Stanford University before landing a job as a sketch artist for Paramount Pictures. She later developed a connection with Alfred Hitchcock which led to her departure from Paramount to Universal Studios. Unfortunately, we do not find a lot of impact from Edith’s fashion in our time period, since now we have totally different trends in style. However, her designs greatly influenced the fashion trends during her career. This is when the movie industry was growing and many were watching movies for fashion inspiration.

One such movie was The Princess Jungle (1936), in which the main character wears a sarong that was inspired by the jungle, this sarong was made of a satin crepe. This piece got so much attention during this time that people were imitating this same garment and inspired many to create swimsuits based on it. Another famous piece that Head created was a dress for actress Elizabeth Taylor. This was for the film, A Place in the Sun (1951), the dress was made of tulle and emphasized the waist. It also included some colored lace. Just like Edith’s sarong dress this one also had a major impact in fashion trends during that time. Many stores sold knockoffs and young girls used similar styled dresses for prom. Also it was one of my favorite dress from Edith’s designs.

Here are more costumes that I think they were her best designs


  • Audrey Hepburn’s cool white shirts in Roman Holiday


  • Olivia de Havilland’s dresses in The Heiress


  • Bette Davis’s off-the-shoulder dress in All About Eve



  • Grace Kelly’s blue dress in To Catch a Thief


The Phantom of the Opera is a novel written by Gaston Leroux and published in 1909.  The story gets inspiration from events that occurred in the Paris Opera in the 19th Century.  It was later turned into films, and adapted as plays. One of the most recently popular films based on the novel is the 2004 version of the same title. In it starred, Gerard Butler and Emmy Rossum. Rossum plays the role of Christine Daaé, who is a main character in the movie. Daaé, is a young woman that is replacing the lead singer of the opera house.

The fashion style that was used for the film was inspired from back in the 19th century, specifically the 1870’s and the style was that of a Victorian era fashion. During this time period, women begin to slim down on the size of their dress with the waistline still visible. In contrast with the 1860’s the necklines varied, instead of high neckline during the day and low during the evening. The sleeves also slimmed down and were not as full as in the previous two decades. This is the decade that the polonaise was presented, which removed the need for a separate overskirt, since the polonaise combined the bodice and overskirt into one. There was also the tournure or bustle that made it look like the women with polonaise had an enormous behind. By the end of the decade the dress slimmed even further and with the use of the cuirass, the fit was more close.

There around 9 identical scenes in the film in which Christine Daaé changes her costumes.

  1. Christine Daaé is dressed identically to the other dancing girls for the rehearsal of “Hannibal”.
  2. Christine is dressed as a mate in the actual play.
  3. Christine is dressed in a full gown for her first time preforming in the stage
  4. Christine is dressed in her underdresses the first time she meets the Phantom.
  5. Christine is dressed with a cloak in outdoor showing scenes.
  6. Christine is dressed for the Bal Masque.
  7. Christine is dressed to perform with the Phantom on the stage.
  8. Christine is dressed in a wedding dress, while the Phantom threatens he will kill Raoul (her fiancé).
  9. Christine is dressed in all black to the grave to visit her father.

I will use these 9 scenes for my illustrations of the character.


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