Julie Nakama: Edith Head, Carol Lombard, and the Most Famous Dress in Hollywood


Julie Nakama: Edith Head, Carol Lombard, and the Most Famous Dress in Hollywood
Tuesday, May 10, 4:00 PM
Lincoln Hall, Room 331

Edith Head is THE iconic Hollywood costume designer. On the afternoon of May 8, 1978, she appeared at a Pittsburgh department store to show her collection of the costumes she had designed for Dorothy Lamour, Ava Gardner, Rosalind Russell, and others. One model, dressed as an ersatz Carole Lombard, wore what Head called “the oldest and most famous” of her creations – a white satin gown with a white fur-trimmed cape. Head claimed that Lombard had worn the dress at a cocktail party where she famously first met Clark Gable. This talk will follow the story of the Lombard dress to illustrate more broadly the production processes of Hollywood costume departments in the studio and post-studio era. By following the trajectory of the dress, and the career of its designer, this talk will address three fundamental transitions that occurred around costuming departments during the move to the post-studio era: changes in production practices, shifts in marketing schemas, and shifts in the relationship between costume departments and the fashion industries.

Julie Nakama is a Mellon Predoctoral Fellow in Critical and Cultural Studies at the University of Pittsburgh. She received her BA in Film at PSU summa cum laudein 2009. Her work has appeared in Like One of the Family: Domestic Workers, Race and In/Visibility in The Help (2015) and she has presented at the annual Society for Cinema and Media Studies conference and recently at the Turning The Page conference in Ghent, Belgium.

Prior to Julie Nakama’s lecture, Film Majors can attend a lunch with her to talk about attending graduate school, 11-12 in Lincoln Hall 137.