Thirty-six wardrobe pieces created by legendary Hollywood designer Edith Head come to the Decorative Arts Center of Ohio this month.
June 2014 Issue
June 2014 Digest
The Decorative Arts Center of Ohio celebrates the work of Hollywood costume designer Edith Head, Pairings' mixes wine and learning in Ashtabula County, and Devo's Mark Mothersbaugh talks about the band's upcoming tour.
The perfectly neat suits and matching frocks worn by leading ladies such as Ingrid Bergman and Grace Kelly did more than reflect the style of their times. The clothing created a persona for the characters they inhabited.
Take, for example, actress Shelley Winters’ dowdy cotton dress, gabardine swing coat and saddle shoes from 1951’s “A Place in the Sun.” They are as simple and innocent as her character, Alice Tripp, heightening the tragedy of the rowboat ride from which she will never return.
Winters’ wardrobe from her final scene in that film is among 36 costumes created by legendary Hollywood costume designer Edith Head to be featured at the Decorative Arts Center of Ohio in Lancaster. “Designing Woman: Edith Head at Paramount 1924–1967” runs June 7 through Aug. 17.
“Edith was really the first woman from Hollywood to put herself out there as the authority and a brand name,” explains Randall Thropp, a Paramount Pictures costume archivist and curator for the exhibit.
Head worked at Paramount Pictures for more than four decades and was credited in more than 1,000 films, from musicals to comedies to dramas to Westerns, winning eight Oscar awards throughout her career. “[The exhibit] touches on each type of genre that she was responsible for costuming,” Thropp adds. “It’s a representation of a woman’s career.”
Head had a vision for communicating mood and character in her designs, collaborating with artists and tailors to bring her ideas to life. Her attention to detail is clear in a heavy linen dress worn by actress Veronica Lake. It features hand-cut black fish — an art deco motif that decorates the side of the gown.
The idea to bring the exhibit to the Decorative Arts Center of Ohio was set in motion at a dinner party Thropp attended while visiting his mother, who lives in Lancaster.
Though this is only the second time the collection has left Hollywood, Head’s image and legacy endures.
“She would tell housewives how they should be dressing. … She was brilliant at hiding flaws, and that’s why the actresses liked her,” Thropp explains. “There were several other designers who worked at Paramount, but none as prolific as Edith.” — Hallie Rybka
For more information, visit decartsohio.org.
Ashtabula County’s Pairings unveils its first phase this month with an aim to impart food-and-drink knowledge on enthusiasts and entrepreneurs alike.
Drinking a glass of pinot grigio while taking a farm-to-table cooking class taught by a personal chef is just one of the menu items Pairings, Ohio’s Wine & Culinary Experience, will offers guests when it opens June 21. The culinary center’s 3,800-square-foot first phase is part tasting room, part hands-on classroom. Located two miles north of Grand River Valley in the heart of one of Ohio’s largest viticulture districts, Pairings is billed as the only business of its kind in the state. It’s devoted to both educating and entertaining consumers, and helping entrepreneurs break into the winemaking industry. “At the end of the day, wine has the potential to be an intimidating beverage,” says Mark Winchell, Pairings’ president of trustees. — James Bigley II
Class Is In Session:
Pairings will offer a wide variety of skill-based classes with Ohio wine integrated as a social component into every class activity. Expect to see lots of Ohio-sourced food as well. “We want to create a consumer experience where anything that is produced in the state of Ohio can be showcased here,” says Winchell, who expects to bring in butchers and chefs to lead classes in a variety of areas. Food workshops will run from $20 to $150 per person and will range from a 30-minute class on how to prepare chocolate to a four-hour instruction on how to design, cook and present an elaborate six-course meal.
Pairings has a vetting process in which every featured wine is required to have won a gold or silver medal in a state-recognized competition. “The idea is to showcase for the traveling public and for culinary consumers the best products Ohio can produce,” explains Winchell. Tasting room guests can choose from six different wine flights, ranging from dry reds and whites to sweet and dessert wines. They can also taste samples and purchase full bottles from all five Ohio wine regions.
This first phase is the start of a planned 38,000-square-foot facility. Part of Pairings’ second phase will be a 36-month program in which those looking to break into the industry can get access to machinery and the expertise of established winemakers. “There are a lot of budding entrepreneurs that would love to have some training classes [and] work with peers,” says Winchell. Tentatively slated for 2015, the program will aid its participants in producing up to 2,000 gallons of wine a year. “The idea is to move more and more winemakers into the marketplace.”
Pairings is located at 50 Park St., Geneva 44041. For more information, visit pairingsohio.com.
Fascinating Objects from our Past
19th-Century Pixley Safe
Retains its original paint decoration, documentation and combination
Up until the early 19th century, when English blacksmiths began to produce crude boxes made entirely of cast iron, most valuables had been stored in wooden containers with iron straps that offered little in the way of fire or theft protection. But when Charles Henry Pixley Sr. founded The Pixley Safe & Desk Co. in Toledo in 1868, his business became a cutting-edge model for providing convenient and secure storage for valuables. The trade flourished thanks to robust demand from affluent customers who were amassing paper records, jewelry and other valuables. Having helped Toledo police solve crimes involving safes and strongboxes for years, Pixley had studied the work of burglars like a curator studies an artist. His passion for his work resulted in safes that were not only functional but also beautiful, including this prized 19th century example, which retains the original paint decoration, documentation and combination. By the time Pixley died in 1929 at the age of 82, he passed a successful business to his son and proudly held the record as the oldest active safe expert in the United States. — Amelia Jeffers
Sold at Auction:
Amelia Jeffers is owner of Garth's Auctioneers & Appraisers in Delaware.
Devo's Mark Mothersbaugh talks about his band's new release and tour, his work in television and film, and the Akron music scene.
Using subversion as a springboard for change, Devo was the antithesis of a mainstream rock band. Formed in Akron in 1973, the group’s experimental music attracted admirers such as David Bowie, Iggy Pop and Neil Young and capitalized on the dawn of music videos, most notably with the MTV staple “Whip It.” “We were not trying to be the soup du jour,” says original member and Kent State University alum Mark Mothersbaugh, calling from his music-production company in California. “We were concerned about science, religion and the social aspects of the planet. We tried to make sense out of things that were insane.” We talked with the 63-year-old Mothersbaugh about a new Devo release and tour, his work in TV and movies, and the Akron music scene. — Barry Goodrich
Devo has a new release, “Something Else for Everybody,” and a new summer tour featuring its music from 1974–1977. What motivated the group to get back on the road?
It’s kind of a farewell tribute to [band member] Bob Casale, who passed away this year. These are songs that all predate our first album. This stuff is the earliest of the Devo material. It’s like Star Trek meets the Black Keys 40 years before they were born. I’m even going to go back and use the same kind of synthesizers. I think it will work. Keep your fingers and eyes crossed.
You’ve worked with everyone from director Wes Anderson to Pee-wee Herman. How did all this evolve from your days with the group?
There’s a lot of Devo in everything I do, whether I’m working on film, TV or video games. You might even be waking up to one of my ringtones. It all comes from the same place. I’m encoding you on a daily basis as best I can.
How do you explain artists like Devo, Chrissie Hynde and the Black Keys all coming out of Akron?
It was an interesting place to come from. It was a strange time for us watching all the Vietnam vets coming back to Akron to find their jobs had been shipped overseas. When we put our first record out, it caught on in England before breaking through here. We told everyone over there Akron was grey and overcast, just like Liverpool. We wore Ohio proudly — it was a major part of who we were.