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Truman Says

Legendary Costume Designer Edith Head's Oscar Ceremony Tips


As awards season begins, we revisit some fashion rules from the Hollywood fashion legend.

Awards season is underway, which means two things: three-hour television programs where Hollywood pats itself on the back for being rich and famous and actresses wearing expensive dresses on the red carpet! Nowadays when the pretty little princesses trot out for their photo ops, you know that a village of stylists, designers, hair dresses, make-up artists, and waxers (some of those lasses can get really furry) have all come together to make them look as flawless as possible. But back in Hollywood's 'Golden Age', there was only one woman you listened to, and her name was Edith Head. Everyone from Elizabeth Taylor to Audrey Hepburn was outfitted by the fabled costume fraulein, who won 8 Academy Awards in her lifetime. But she didn't just dictate what happened in fictional onscreen plotlines--girlfriend laid down the law for how you were supposed to dress for any big Tinseltown event. For example, the official Oscars website released the memo she sent out regarding apporpriate attire for the 1968 ceremony:

"We in the Academy are delighted to know that you will appear on our 40th Awards presentation Telecast Monday, April 8th.

However, so many questions have been asked about the style of dress expected on stage that I send you this information:
Actresses are requested to wear formal evening gowns either Maxi or floor length, preferably pastel shades since the setting is very formal and done entirely in white and gold. As you know, long dresses (no Mini or day length) are more graceful on stage and on camera in this type of background. The Academy feels that the dignity of this traditional affair on our 40th Anniversary deserves formal dress.
Men are expected to wear white tie with conventional formal evening accessories."

That is so major. Rachel Zoe, eat your heart out. She wanted the ladies to match the background. It's surprising she didn't just go ahead and dress everyone herself. Maybe some of the more sloppy gals who are planning to attend the upcoming shows could take a note or two from Head's suggestions (yes, Courtney Love, this means you.)

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