After watching the film “Trumbo” about the two-time Academy awarded winning screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, who was a member of the Blacklisted Hollywood Ten” I want to congratulate costume designer Daniel Orlandi. Hedda Hopper, whose misdirected patriotism and powerful position in the press in Hollywood were a lethal combination. Hedda’s love of fashion, style and the glamorous were combined with the mean spirit of a small town PTA lady. Ms. Helen Mirren playing the role of Hedda Hopper, wore creations that were an ode to 1940’s style. The effect is powerful and menacing. While I don’t wish to downplay the importance of the film’s story and message, the hats of Hedda Hopper take on a unique significance in the film as part of her character and plotline. That is costume design, at its best. Her centeal role as the “fear mongering” voice of the people certainly bring to mind the current politcal climate of extreme politics. Hedda and her “flamboyance” as stated by Mr. Orlandi, were a signature and make her one of the first women in public life to market herself and her career. She was both a menace and a smart strategist. The hats, as Mr. Orlandi has designed them, are great designs as they enhance the ridiculous and absurd nature of her character as well as they show how this aspect can become an extreme. Hedda Hooper becomes diabolical, ridiculous and frightening character in her narrow mindedness. This is a good costume translates into the larger idea.
Editor’s note: See the New York Times article “For Gossip Columnist Hedda Hopper, flamboyance was her brand”