How well do you know Hollywood golden-era costume designers? This 15-question quiz tests your knowledge of iconic fashion-in-film moments.
(If you have not yet taken “Name That Designer: A Hollywood Costume Quiz,” click here to go straight to the quiz.)
Question #1: This designer crafted the sumptuous looks worn by Marlene Dietrich in 1932’s Shanghai Express — except for her leather gloves, which were custom-made by Hermès.
Answer: Travis Banton. In addition to Shanghai Express, Banton also designed the costumes for Dietrich in 1930’s Morocco, 1934’s The Scarlet Empress, and 1935’s The Devil is a Woman. His other notable work includes the costumes for Claudette Colbert in 1934’s Cleopatra and for Rita Hayworth in 1944’s Cover Girl.
Question #2: Jean Harlow's bias-cut gown by this designer for 1933’s Dinner at Eight continues to inspire red-carpet looks.
Answer: Adrian. Born Adrian Adolph Greenburg and known early in his career as Gilbert Adrian (a combination of his and his father’s first names) before deciding on the single moniker, Adrian’s influence on fashion extended beyond films. Bias-cut gowns and shoulder pads are just two of his contributions to style; he’s also known for designing the ruby slippers for The Wizard of Oz.
Question #3: Glamorous gowns for actresses like Myrna Loy in 1934’s The Thin Man were the specialty of this designer, who lifted the spirits of Depression-era audiences.
Answer: Dolly Tree. British-born Dolly Tree was an actress before she transitioned into costume design, and was known for glamorous dresses for Depression-era films that include 1934’s Evelyn Prentice, 1936’s Libeled Lady, The Thin Man, also in 1936, and two of its sequels: After the Thin Man in 1936 and Another Thin Man in 1939.
Question #4: This designer crafted costumes for many 1930s Astaire-Rogers musicals, including Ginger's iconic feather gown in 1935’s Top Hat.
Answer: Bernard Newman. Before moving to Hollywood, the Missouri-born, Paris-trained Newman worked in New York at Bergdorf Goodman, first as a window dresser before becoming head designer. The iconic feathered gown he crafted for Rogers in Top Hat was made to her specifications and was light blue in color.
Question #5: While his career spanned four decades, he was primarily known for the costumes he created for Vivien Leigh in a 1939 film.
Answer: Walter Plunkett. With more than 150 films on his resume, Plunkett was known for his work on period costumes, most notably 1939’s Gone With the Wind and 1952’s Singin’ in the Rain.
Question #6: His versatile work is seen in some of the best films of the 1940s, including Citizen Kane, Murder, My Sweet, and 1941’s Suspicion, starring Cary Grant and Joan Fontaine.
Answer: Edward Stevenson. In addition to his film work, Stevenson also was hand-picked by Lucille Ball to design for her television series and specials, starting with I Love Lucy in 1951.
Question #7: His stellar career included such iconic films as Now, Voyager, Some Like It Hot and 1942’s Casablanca, seen here.
Answer: Orry-Kelly. The Australian-born Orry George Kelly was the chief costume designer for Warner Bros. between 1932 and 1944. He later won three Oscars for his work, for 1951’s An American in Paris, for 1957’s Les Girls, and for 1959’s Some Like It Hot.
Question #8: This designer’s career highlights include 1944’s Laura, but she chose New York over Hollywood, and her later work included designing handbags for Coach.
Answer: Bonnie Cashin. The California-born Cashin was the daughter of a dressmaker, once telling an interviewer, “Before I could write, I could sew.” In addition to Laura, Cashin also designed the costumes for 1945’s A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and 1948’s Unfaithfully Yours. Cashin’s later work in New York earned her a spot on the Fashion Walk of Fame: Her honor is located on 7th Avenue between 36th and 37th Streets, in the city’s Garment District.
Question #9: This designer crafted the costumes for Universal’s hugely successful monster movies, but she also designed this sultry gown for Ava Gardner in 1946’s The Killers.
Answer: Vera West. Born in New York City, West primarily crafted the women’s looks in Universal’s now-legendary slate of monster films, creating the wedding dress for Elsa Lanchester for 1935’s Bride of Frankenstein. She also worked on 1943’s Shadow of a Doubt for Alfred Hitchcock and 1939’s Destry Rides Again.
Question #10: Among film’s most iconic costumes, this satin dress worn by Rita Hayworth in 1946’s Gilda was a feat of engineering so she could dance and move freely — who designed it?
Answer: Jean Louis. The black satin dress Hayworth wears to perform “Put the Blame on Mame” is so famous, it has its own Wikipedia page. Jean Louis’s design includes a corset, as Hayworth was still recovering from the birth of her first child, as well as a harness and plastic molding.
Question #11: She supervised the wardrobe for such classics as White Heat and 1946’s The Big Sleep, starring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall.
Answer: Leah Rhodes. The Texas-born Rhodes created the wardrobes for films that included 1944’s Passage to Marseille, also with Bogart, and The Conspirators, also 1944, starring Hedy Lamarr and Paul Henreid. Rhodes also shared an Oscar with Travilla for 1948’s Adventures of Don Juan.
Question #12: Lana Turner’s character in 1946’s The Postman Always Rings Twice is often seen wearing white to contrast the murder she’s contemplating; who designed her costumes?
Answer: Irene Lentz. Starting out as an actress in silent films, the Montana-born Lentz owned her own dress shop and designed upscale dresses in the Bullocks Wilshire department store in Beverly Hills before transitioning to costume design. After a 10-year absence from films, she returned to create the costumes for Doris Day for 1960’s Midnight Lace and was nominated for an Academy Award.
Question #13: Among this designer’s most famous costumes is this dress for Bette Davis in 1950’s All About Eve — reportedly Davis had the sketch of the dress framed and hung in her home.
Answer: Edith Head. Davis wrote the foreword for Edith Head’s Hollywood, and in it mentions the designer’s work: “My own memento of Edith’s long career hangs on the wall of my home: a sketch of that fabulous brown cocktail dress Margo Channing wore in All About Eve. I bought the dress and I treasure the sketch. It’s simply signed “To Bette, from Edith.”
Question #14: Luxe gowns and a fashion-show sequence showcased this designer's talents in 1953’s How to Marry a Millionaire, starring Betty Grable, Marilyn Monroe and Lauren Bacall.
Answer: Travilla. Los Angeles-born William Travilla designed costumes for eight of Monroe’s films, including her iconic white halter dress for 1955’s The Seven Year Itch.
Question #15: Her work includes several iconic musicals, from West Side Story to the ballet costumes for An American in Paris — she won an Oscar for 1956’s The King and I, seen here.
Answer: Irene Sharaff. Born in Boston, Irene Sharaff is among Hollywood’s most honored costume designers, with 16 nominations and five wins that included The King and I. She also designed costumes for Broadway and likewise took home a Tony Award for her costumes for The King and I, which opened in New York on March 29th, 1951.
Question #16: This designer often worked with Elizabeth Taylor at MGM, including such films as Father of the Bride, BUtterfield 8 and, here, Taylor’s white dress in 1958’s Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.
Answer: Helen Rose. Rose designed nightclub and stage costumes in her native Chicago before moving to Los Angeles to design for the movies. In addition to her film work, Rose is known for designing two famous wedding dresses: for Elizabeth Taylor for her 1950 wedding to Conrad Hilton (a fitting tie-in with Rose’s costume-design work for that year’s Father of the Bride), and for Grace Kelly when she married Prince Rainier in Monaco in 1956.
Question #17: This designer’s prolific career included a shared Academy Award win for 1963’s Cleopatra; she later designed the costumes for Body Heat.
Answer: Renié. In addition to her work for studios that included MGM, Paramount, RKO and 20th Century Fox, Renié also was the original costume designer for Disneyland — you’ll find her name among those included in the Disney Main Street honors, above Disneyland’s Carnation Café, on a window advertising “Milady Fashions.”
Question #18: Between 1941 and 1970 he worked on 13 films and won three Oscars, including two for 1964’s My Fair Lady, for art direction and costume design.
Answer: Cecil Beaton. A undeniable renaissance man, Beaton’s career beyond film and stage work included many books and his iconic photography, with portraits that range from Greta Garbo and Barbra Streisand to Salvador Dali, Pablo Picasso, Winston Churchill and Queen Elizabeth II.
Question #19: She won three Oscars and was nominated 12 times, including for 1965’s The Sound of Music.
Answer: Dorothy Jeakins. Born and raised in Southern California, Jeakins was never aligned with any one studio, instead choosing to freelance for her entire Hollywood career.
Question #20: This designer was nominated for an Oscar for 1967’s Bonnie and Clyde — upon seeing the film, women everywhere were inspired to copy Faye Dunaway’s look.
Answer: Theadora Van Runkle. Incredibly, Bonnie and Clyde was Theadora Van Runkle’s first film credit; she again worked with Dunaway on her wardrobe for 1968’s The Thomas Crown Affair and also designed costumes for 1974’s The Godfather: Part II and 1986’s Peggy Sue Got Married, and was Oscar-nominated for those films as well.
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