|Photo courtesy of Delta Zeta Sorority|
To help celebrate Women’s History Month, the NPC blog is spotlighting Panhellenic women who have been influential historical figures. The third featured Panhellenic woman is Edith Head, an academy- award winning costume designer and member of Delta Zeta. Head was born in San Bernardino, Calif., and raised in the mining town of Searchlight, Nev. She attended the University of California, Berkeley and earned a master’s degree in French from Stanford University. After completing her education, Head taught school until 1923. In 1924, she began her career as a costume sketch artist for Paramount Pictures.
Although she started as a sketch artist, Head worked her way up and quickly became known as one of Hollywood’s top costume designers. During her career, Head designed costumes for black and white films, color films and television. She designed for the top stars at Paramount Pictures and Universal Studios, where she constructed many iconic dresses that are still replicated today. Head was known for her outgoing personality and willingness to work with stars to create the perfect wardrobe. To honor her contributions to costume design, Head was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
In 1960, Head was selected by Delta Zeta as an honorary convention initiate. She was initiated as an alumna member into Mu Chapter at the University of California, Berkeley. After her initiation, Head continued to be involved with Delta Zeta. She lent her talents to the Southern California Council of Delta Zeta for its Lamplighters’ Flame Fantasy fashion show several times during the 1960s and 1970s. In 1968, Head was named Delta Zeta Woman of the Year. The Delta Zeta Foundation awards a scholarship in her name for members studying fashion design.
Head died Oct. 24, 1981. In 2013, Google commemorated Head’s accomplishments and what would have been her 116th birthday with a Google Doodle. Head’s career as a costume designer spanned over 50 years and included 35 academy-award nominations and eight Oscars. She holds the record for most academy-award nominations and the most Oscars for a female.
Edith Head will be forever remembered as a Panhellenic sister who opened doors for women in the male-dominated field of costume design.