Poll: Classic Costume Designer Smack-Down


Time to pit more designers against designers in a battle to the death! Sure, it’s not that vicious, but surely you love a little competition where we get to be the judge, instead of some stuffy academy? You voted on current designers last time, now here are nine of the most prolific frock flick designers from Hollywood’s glory days. We’ve limited it to costume designers who worked on films up to around the early 1970s. Next up, TV costume designers!

Need a reminder of who’s who? Check our archives as you vote…

  • Adrian (Queen Christina, Marie Antoinette, Pride and Prejudice)
  • Margaret Furse (The Mudlark, The Lion in Winter, Anne of the Thousand Days)
  • Edith Head (The Heiress, Samson and Delilah, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid)
  • René Hubert (Fire Over England, That Hamilton Woman, Désirée)
  • Dorothy Jeakins (Joan of Arc, My Cousin RachelThe Sound of Music)
  • Orry-Kelly (Jezebel, The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex, Some Like It Hot)
  • Walter Plunkett (Little Women, Gone With the Wind, Singin’ in the Rain)
  • Irene Sharaff (Meet Me in St. Louis, The King and I, Cleopatra)
  • Piero Tosi (The Leopard, Death in Venice, Ludwig)


Tell us why you voted how you did — and who we missed!


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Three historical costumers who decided the world needed a podcast and blog dedicated to historical costume movies and everything right and wrong with them.

14 Responses

  1. Cheryl from Maryland

    Tosi for “The Leopard.” His costumes shine not only for accuracy and beauty, but also how the actor’s character is reflected through their clothing. My husband and I were mesmerized for all three hours of the film. Not to mention the late director’s Sydney Pollack’s interview about the film and his commentary on the outstanding performance and appearance of Burt Lancaster.

  2. Susan Pola Staples

    I have 2 Tosi for il Gattopardo and Margaret Furse for Anne of A Thousand Days. The others are iconic, but those are my favs. And I can’t vote for 2.

  3. Shashwat

    The over the top embellishments of Adrian,Edith Head’s chic flamboyance,Orry kelly’s cream-cake froofiness and Tosi’s historically accurate AND meaningful costumes.Plunckett’s iconinc costumes from the 30’s?’Nuff said.Now I am going to spend another few hours thinking about who to vote for.Thank you frock flicks for this unhealthy obsession

  4. Allison

    Usually I’m Edith Head all the way, but Piero Tosi’s costumes were so gorgeous, and he seemed to take historical accuracy very seriously, so he gets my vote.

  5. Adina

    Honestly, Singin’ In the Rain just biases me completely towards Plunkett

  6. Lynne Connolly

    So hard! Loved Adrian’s designs, and the way he worked with the actresses. He developed that square-shouldered look for Joan Crawford. But I’ve got an Edith Head dress, and it’s breathtakingly simple, but utterly flamboyant in its effect. Beautifully finished, too. So it had to be her.

  7. Kristin Cooper Holtz

    I expected to vote for Edith Head who did so many marvelous films until I saw the lion in winter and Anne of a thousand days was done by someone else. Margaret Furse left such a wonderful palette to these amazing films, I had to choose her.

  8. Lily Lotus Rose

    I think that Edith Head is indisputably the Grand Dame here, and thus she didn’t really need my vote. Instead I voted for Orry-Kelly because of the wide variety of his designs. Also, a while ago I saw a cuckoo “documentary” about his life called “Women He’s Undressed,” and I’ve had a soft spot for him ever since then.

  9. kt

    How can you go past Garbo in Queen Christina? And I know that the P & P costumes weren’t right for the era, but they were fabulous, nonetheless!