There’s a lot that’s great about biopic Trumbo (2015), which tells the story of blacklisted (for being a communist) screenwriter Dalton Trumbo in the 1940s and 1950s. Bryan Cranston does a wonderful job portraying the titular character, the script is well written, and there’s a lot of entertaining performances from great actors like John Goodman. But the real star, in my opinion — at least in terms of the costumes — was Hedda Hopper’s (played by the fabulous Helen Mirren) hats.
Hedda Hopper was THE most important gossip columnist in 1940s-50s Hollywood. She was also vehemently anti-communist, and helped to lead the brigade to weed out supposed or real communists in Hollywood, and is the focal baddie in the film Trumbo. She was also known for her fashion sense, in particular her fabulous hats. According to the New York Times:
“Hopper was nothing if not a sartorial extremist, preening in headgear that varied from cabbage rose confections to plumed saucer-like contraptions that seemed poised for flight. So outré were her hats that they were spoofed in the ’40s on the cover of Time, in an illustration portraying her with a telephone, a microphone and a typewriter perched atop her curls” (For Gossip Columnist Hedda Hopper, Flamboyance Was Her Brand).
Hopper’s super-chic fashions are the focal point of Trumbo‘s costumes. Costume designer Daniel Orlandi told LAObserved, “Hats were her gimmick … they got her attention … People would make her outrageous hats, and she would wear them. It got her more publicity. And she was also this kind of malovent [sic], ambitious woman. It was her way of saying, ‘aren’t I funny and cute? And now I’m going to go in for the kill'” (Talking Hats with ‘Trumbo’ Costume Designer). Speaking with the LA Times, Orlandi observed, “The thing about Hedda is how her clothes don’t really go with the hats. It’s not usually an outfit. She had an eccentricity about her and a flamboyance. It was sort of her gimmick, those hats” (‘Trumbo’s costume designer details Dalton’s eccentricities and Hedda’s hats).
The hats were made by costume designer Daniel Orlandi and the chief milliner at Western Costume, Kerry Deco. According to the Hollywood Reporter, “Most of Hopper’s frocks were created from vintage fabrics; Orlandi pulled from his own collection of vintage buttons, jewelry, feathers, and flowers for the columnist’s trademark headwear” (How Costume Designers for ‘Trumbo,’ ‘Joy’ Found the Perfect Fit’). The costumes in this film were justifiably nominated for a Costume Designers Guild Award last year.
Now, let’s look in-depth at all of Mirren-as-Hopper’s hats in Trumbo!
And now, some hats/ensembles that I don’t think made it to screen (unless I missed them when I was screencapping?).
Have you seen Trumbo? Which of Hedda Hopper’s hats was your favorite?