This costume is a great example of how costume designers are frequently required to create duplicates of their costumes. The number of duplications for a costume can vary depending on how much the costume appears in the production, and if it is needed to undergo any changes, such as scenes that take place in the rain, or a scene where the piece gets dirty, or for usage on stunt and body doubles. It was also always safe to have a spare costume around in the event that anything accidentally happened to it. This ensured that production would not have to be stopped to have things cleaned or mended. One famous example of a costume being heavily duplicated is Scarlett O’Hara’s paisley gown, which required seventeen versions in varying states of disrepair.
This green sweater set with polka dot collar and cuffs was created by Edith Head for Alfred Hitchcock’s 1958 film Vertigo, where it was worn by Kim Novak as Judy Barton. The costume likely went back into the Paramount studio’s stock, and eventually was purchased through an online auction by film costume collector Larry McQueen. Larry noted of the piece:
The costume was surprisingly complete, which is not the usual case where pieces of the costume have been separated. The costume came with two sweaters (one with cuffs and one without cuffs), skirt, belt, polka dot scarf (that ties to the belt) and a pair of black pumps. The sweater with the cuffs had a label that read “Novak” and the one without the cuffs had a small bias label which read “Cindy.”
McQueen did a bit more digging to determine who “Cindy” might be. He considered productions that would have been produced by Paramount that were set in the 50s. Eventually he discovered that the piece was worn by Cindy Williams as Shirley Feeney in Laverne and Shirley. The sweater is worn in the 1976 episode From Suds to Stardom. The cuffs were removed for usage on Williams.
This costume recently was on display at the Hollywood Costume exhibit put on by the V&A museum.
To see more of Larry McQueen’s fabulous movie costumes, check out his pinterest page here.
Though this costume was purchased by McQueen almost fully complete, one element missing was the rabbit pin worn by Novak in Vertigo. Merry Rosenberg, who owns a jewelry manufacturing company “The Magic Zoo” and deals with the creation of animal jewelry, was commissioned to re-create this piece before the costume went on display at the Academy.
One of the seventeen Scarlett O’Hara’s paisley costumes from the James Tumblin collection recently went up for auction and sold for over $35,000. You can learn more about it here.