Edith Head, the costume designer behind countless Hollywood hits, is honored by a Google Doodle today on what would have been her 116th birthday.

Edith Head: Google Doodle honors Hollywood legend

The creative mind behind the iconic on-screen wardrobes of Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly, and many cinema starlets is honored today with a Google Doodle celebrating her best works.

Anyone who has taken fashion inspiration from Audrey Hepburn, Natalie Wood, or Elizabeth Taylor’s on-screen style may actually have Edith Head to thank.

The 20th century costume designer created the iconic wardrobes of movies ranging from Hepburn’s “Sabrina” to Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds” over a half-century long career that earned her critical acclaim as well as a hand in designing a page in fashion history books. Several of her most famous designs, as well as her austere personal style, are captured online today through a Google Doodle in honor of the 116th anniversary of her birth.

Born Edith Claire Posener in San Bernardino, Calif. on Oct. 28, 1897, Ms. Head originally hoped to be a French teacher. She studied French at the University of California-Berkeley, gained a master’s degree in romance languages from Stanford, and got her first job as a French teacher at a girl’s school in San Diego. She later picked up drawing in hopes of making a bit of extra cash as an art teacher, but instead it led to her first job in Hollywood: a costume sketch artist for Paramount Pictures in 1924.

Around this time, she also married Charles Head, and though they later divorced, the last name “Head” stuck in her professional life.

Though Head later admitted she used a student’s sketches to land her the job at Paramount, her talent quickly proved her worth. Head stayed at Paramount for 43 years (then Universal Pictures after 1967) and became the stylish eye behind Hepburn’s European ensembles in “Roman Holiday,” the floral sarong worn by Dorothy Lamour in “Jungle Princess”, and Elizabeth Taylor’s sparkling strapless dress in “A Place in the Sun,” among more than 400 other movie wardrobes. 

She was known to consult with her female actresses, making her a favorite among the Hollywood stars she dressed, who ranged from Mae West to Grace Kelly to Natalie Wood over her long-lasting career. Plus she captured the heart of directors such as Alfred Hitchcock, as she dressed his leading ladies in tailored, fashionable ensembles that ironically stayed together as his characters fell apart during his many on-screen psychological thrillers.

But her fame wasn’t limited to creating some of the most memorable looks in cinematic history. Over her career, she was nominated for 35 Oscars and won eight, the most of any woman in Academy Award history. She is also the only costume designer to have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Despite making a living dressing others, her personal style also lent her a bit of notoriety in Tinsel Town. She favored pulled back dark hair with short blunt bangs, and was never without her thick, black-rimmed round glasses. Though not confirmed, her unique style and no-nonsense personality is thought to be the inspiration for the character Edna Mode in Pixar’s movie “The Incredibles.” 

Head died in 1981 at the age of 83, but today gets new life on Google. 

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to

QR Code to Edith Head: Google Doodle honors Hollywood legend
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today