Hitchcock Cinema’s Finest Feminine Fashions


Happy birthday to “Master of Suspense” Alfred Hitchcock. The English director’s voyeuristic thrills and deceptive characters are just a few trademarks of his movies. But one facet of his filmography that is sometimes overlooked is the fashion worn by Hitch’s stunningly dressed leading ladies, which the director often employed for its symbolic or suggestive resonance. Here are some of our favorite feminine styles in Hitchcock cinema.

Joan Fontaine in Rebecca

The second Mrs. De Winter dresses like the deceased first Mrs. De Winter, which spooks Laurence Olivier’s Maxim.

Kim Novak in Vertigo

“I don’t wear suits, and I don’t wear gray. Another thing, I don’t wear black pumps,” Kim Novak told famed costume designer Edith Head — who dressed her in exactly that for her role in Vertigo.

Janet Leigh in Psycho

Janet Leigh’s Marion wears white lingerie at the start of the film, but the color changes to black after taking off with $40,000 of her employer’s money.

Eva Marie Saint in North by Northwest

Tailored, mid-century fashion at its finest

Tippi Hedren in The Birds

Costume designer Edith Head referred to Tippi Hedren’s suit color as “Eau de Nil,” which means “Nile water.”

Carole Lombard in Mr. & Mrs. Smith

There’s nothing funny about the fashion in Hitchcock’s only comedy.

Tippi Hedren in Marnie

Marnie was Tippi Hedren’s favorite film role due to the character’s complex and challenging nature.

Grace Kelly in To Catch a Thief

Edith Head dresses Hitchcock’s greatest muse once again.

Ingrid Bergman in Notorious

“Every costume is indicated when he sends me the script,” Edith Head wrote of Hitchcock in her memoir. “There is always a story reason behind his thinking, an effort to characterize.”

Grace Kelly in Dial M For Murder

From IMDb on one of the film’s costume decisions:

Alfred Hitchcock had chosen a very expensive robe for Grace Kelly to wear when she answered the phone. The actress balked and said that no woman would put on such a robe, just to answer the ringing telephone while she was asleep alone, but would answer it in her slip. Hitchcock agreed to do it her way and liked the way the rushes turned out. The director agreed to allow the actress to make all costume decisions for herself in their subsequent films together, afterwards.

Marlene Dietrich in Stage Fright

Christian Dior designed Marlene Dietrich’s glamorous costumes.

Grace Kelly in Rear Window

From IMDb on Hitchcock’s Grace Kelly obsession in relation to her fashion for Rear Window:

Alfred Hitchcock spent a great deal of time with Edith Head on Grace Kelly’s look, which was characteristic of his often obsessive relationship with his leading ladies. One costume he fretted over was the negligee Lisa wears to spend the night at Jeff’s. He quietly pulled Head aside and suggested falsies to give Kelly a bustier look. The designer and the actress, however, made only a few changes in costume construction and posture. Hitchcock was fooled into thinking Kelly had been padded and approved the look.