Bette Davis Wasn’t Taking Any Chances With Her Costumes For All About Eve

“All About Eve” wasn’t the first time Edith Head boarded a movie for the sole purpose of dressing Bette Davis. They previously collaborated on 1948’s “June Bride” as well. Recounted in the book “All About All About Eve” by Sam Staggs, Bette Davis said of the costume designer, “Edith always took time to read the script and understand the character … She managed to make you look as good (or as bad!) as the script allowed.” Naturally, she would want Head to join the production.

In those days, people signed contracts to work exclusively with one studio. Head was under contract at Paramount, but “All About Eve” was a Fox movie. Paramount would need to loan her out in order to do the movie in the first place. Fox would also need to ask for her, and Charles LeMaire had already designed everyone else’s costumes in the picture.

Davis’ costumes were put off so long that LeMaire had actually already moved on to working on another movie. He completely understood why Davis would want Head to do her wardrobe and recalled in that book, “Sure I would have liked to dress Bette Davis, but I was already on another film. I had confidence that Edith could do it, so I asked for her on loan.”

This is a rare opportunity where seemingly every party was satisfied. Davis got her costume designer. Head got to work on one of the greatest films of all time. LeMaire got to have his beautiful work on every other character in the picture. In the end, Head and LeMaire both were given the Academy Award for best costume design that year for a black-and-white film. Davis lost her Oscar, though, so it wasn’t exactly a win-win-win.

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