© 2023 St. Louis Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Actress Susan Claassen Embodies Costume Designer Edith Head

Tim Fuller
Actress Susan Claassen in the role of costume designer Edith Head.

Actress Susan Claassen has had the same look for years. But it wasn't until she saw a show on Edith Head one night on the Biography channel that Claassen realized her appearance was very similar to costume designer Edith Head, whose Hollywood career spanned from 1923 to her death in 1981.

"She [Edith Head] really was an executive woman before there was such a thing," said Claassen. "It was a boy's club when she came in in 1923. And the films are as timeless as her designs."

Since realizing their similar appearance, Claassen has taken on the role of Edith Head in a one-woman play, during which she takes questions from the audience.

"A Conversation with Edith Head" will be at the Sheldon in December, but Claassen's first appearance in St. Louis as Head will be at the screening of "To Catch a Thief" during the St. Louis International Film Festival. Head designed the costumes for the film, and Claassen will answer questions from the audience about the designs.

Screenshot of the October 16 Google Doodle in tribute to Edith Head.

Edith Head first became well-known in 1937 for the movie "Hurricane." She designed Dorothy Lamour's signature sarong.

"It's funny because Dorothy Lamour was very flat-chested, so Edith had to pad out the sarong," said Claassen. "That sarong became a national institution. It was the first of many trends that Edith set, and that Hollywood set."

Glimpses of the sarong can be seen in the trailer for "Hurricane."

Related Events

St. Louis International Film Festival Presents "To Catch a Thief" with Introduction and Q and A by Susan Claassen
Sunday, November 17, 2013
1:00 p.m.
Plaza Frontenac Cinema, Lindbergh and Clayton Road
For more information, call 314-289-4150 or visit the Cinema St. Louis website.

The Sheldon Presents Susan Claassen in "A Conversation with Edith Head"
December 6 and 7, 2013
8:00 p.m.
The Sheldon Ballroom, 3648 Washington Boulevard
For more information, call 314-533-9900 or visit the Sheldon website.

Cityscape is produced by Mary Edwards and Alex Heuer, hosted bySteve Potter and funded in part by the the Arts and Education Council of Greater St. Louis, the Regional Arts Commission and the Missouri Arts Council, a state agency.