Price Tower Arts Center in Bartlesville offers a good reason to travel the 50 or so miles to Frank Lloyd Wright's only skyscraper. The museum presents an exhibit of costumes designed by Edith Head beginning Jan. 22.
Curator of Collections and Exhibitions Scott W. Perkins curated the exhibit, titled "Lights! Camera! Action!: The Film Costumes of Edith Head," which celebrates the famed designer's long history in Hollywood.
Born in 1897, Head was hired as a costume sketch artist for Paramount Studios in 1924, despite not having any previous art or costume experience.
A student of language and a French teacher, Head took evening art classes at Chouinard Art College in California in the 1920s. In spite of this, she admittedly stole another student's sketches to take to her interview with Paramount.
She began her career by designing costumes for silent films and, by 1930, had established herself as one of Hollywood's leading costume designers.
She stayed at Paramount for 44 years. In 1967, Universal Studios hired her, and she remained there until her death in 1981.
Head was nominated for 35 Academy Awards and won eight, more than any other woman in the industry. Notable film credits include Notorious (1946), All About Eve (1950), Sunset Boulevard (1950), Roman Holiday (1953), Rear Window (1954), The Ten Commandments (1956), Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961) and The Sting (1971), as well as 450 others.
Fourteen times, Head played herself on screen. She also appeared on television as a celebrity panelist and authored three books: "The Dress Doctor," "How to Dress for Success" and "Edith Head's Hollywood."
The exhibit celebrates Head's designs for film, television and private Hollywood clients. Since the original garments aren't available, students from Oklahoma State University's design program will recreate Head's costumes for the exhibition.
"The exhibition is a first in many years to focus on fashion and costume design," Perkins said. "And, since it is the first exhibition in nearly 30 years on the work of Edith Head, we wanted to bring some of her designs to life.
"Due to the fact that many of her designs no longer exist, we turned to OSU's design department to recreate the realizations of her work with a contemporary twist.
"The 10 students are constructing Miss Head's designs in an all-black color palette, allowing us to really understand the architecture of the garments and to look at them through a lens of contemporary fashion design," Perkins said.
"Lights! Camera! Action!: The Film Costumes of Edith Head" runs from Jan. 22 to May 16. The museum will host a black tie gala for the exhibit on Jan. 30 and a gala brunch on Jan. 31. Information about both events is available at www.pricetower.org.
Price Tower, at 510 Dewey Ave., is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10am to 5pm and Sunday from 12 to 5pm. Tickets are $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and $5 for students and children.
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