Scorpio Fashion Idol: Edith Head

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October 28, 1897 San Bernardino, CA noon* (time unknown)

It could be said that Edith Head is the most accomplished, and celebrated, woman to ever make it in Hollywood. And like a true Scorpio, her legacy and her image is cloaked in secrecy, mystery and glamour. Though she left an indelible mark on both Hollywood and the fashion industry, many of todays young fashionistas are barely even cognizant of who she is, let alone that she has won the most Academy Awards of any woman in history. Oh to be a private Scorpio and toil behind the scenes, in Heads case, as the most famous costume designer of all time.

Edith Head was born on October 28, 1897 in southern California, when the sun was in Scorpio and the moon was in Sagittarius. This type of fire/water personality is often determined, ambitious and focused. Scorpios are notoriously private, yet Sagittarians, second only to their Leo cousins, love attention and the spotlight. So from early enough along, young Edith Head was eager to accomplish something and be noticed. Perhaps this is what prompted her to look for work in the old Hollywood studio system with absolutely no experience or credentials. In fact, according to her biographer David Chierichetti, who wrote “Edith Head: The Life and Times of Hollywood’s Celebrated Costume Designer”, she took somebody else’s designs and passed them off as her own in order to get the job. The tendency to take credit for others work apparently stuck with Head through much of her career, perhaps echoing this Scorpio/Sagg connection which longs to be in control (Scorpio) and celebrated (Sagg) above all else. Scorpios are legendary control-freaks and master manipulators and working under Head must have been a test of many young designers dedication.

And like most Scorpios, she had a very fixed personality as well as exterior persona. She had a signature personal style that incorporated dark sunglasses (Scorpios feel the eyes are very private and keep them hidden as much as possible), bangs, and lots of black (Scorpios favorite color). And she was famous for her tough, no nonsense work environment, though her Sagg moon must have given her a wicked, if mostly hidden, sense of humor. During her 44 years working at Paramount (from 1923 to 1967) she was nominated for 34 Academy Awards and won 8 times.

Heads birth chart is very strong in Scorpio, Sagg and Libra energy. Her ambition and her controlling nature a gift of her strong Scorpio planets (sun, Mars, Uranus), her choice of an enduring career in a glamourous and public arena from her Sagittarius placement (moon, Saturn), and her artistic vision and talent a trademark of several benefic planets in beauty-loving Libra (Jupiter, Venus, Mercury). The only other two planets, Neptune and Pluto, are placed together in Gemini. In terms of fashion, Gemini is famous for a love of accessories, and this probably gave Head a great instinct for just what pieces would tie together and complement her styles.

Though she was married twice, rumors have always swirled that Head was a lesbian. While it is difficult to pin-point homosexuality in a birth chart, a very strong Aquarius placement could be the indicator in this case. She has her true node, a degree considered very important by esoteric astrologers, at 0′ Aquarius, indicating that she stands apart from the crowd in some way, as Aquarius is an unusual and unconventional sign and 0′ degrees is a very consolidated Aquarian energy.

During her illustrious career, she designed clothing for stars such as Elizabeth Taylor, Marlene Dietrich, Rita Hayworth, Sofia Loren, Doris Day, Bette Davis, Veronica Lake and Mae West. Some of her most famous designs were created for fellow Scorpio Grace Kelley in the Alfred Hitchcock masterpieces “Rear Window” and “To Catch a Thief”. She also worked with Taurus Audrey Hepburn in “Roman Holiday” and “Sabrina”, both of which she won the Oscar for. Her win for “Sabrina”, however, remains clouded in controversy, as she refused to share her costume design credit with Pisces fashion designer Hubert de Givenchy, who actually created most of the stunning dresses worn by Hepburn’s character.

A talented Scorpio woman was truly the right person to have been designing clothes for female Hollywood stars during the conservative studio era, as a Scorpio woman understands, much better than most, two things: how to be sexy without showing too much skin, and the importance of external appearances (regardless, or in spite of, of what lies beneath). This era in Hollywood history was all about the facade, the illusion, the fantasy. Relationships were staged, wardrobes were dictated, and protocols were followed, on and off the screen. Because of the Scorpio preoccupation with privacy, their fashion efforts tend to focus on the most external part of the wardrobe (coats, outwear, etc) to set the mood (They also have a private passion for undergarments, to share only with their privy few of course). Thus, Edith Head was the perfect person to work on the orchestrated glossy veneer of these stars and then grant them their personal privacy.

Many of the gowns Head designed for her glamorous actresses and their glamorous characters have a refined, grecian goddess style. The fit is snug, yet the extra fabric and drapery make it appear elegant rather that overt. There is always a suggestion of a bust but only modest cleavage. And she is the undisputed master of the extravagant yet simple princess gown, the fitted bodice, tight waist and ball gown skirt that has been imitated by countless prom dress designers and blushing brides in the decades since. Great attention was paid to the subtleties of an hourglass silhouette, a great reminder to all of the flashy styles of the modern era, that the shape of a woman’s body is beautiful in and of itself and few bells and whistles are really needed to be sexy and provocative.