If it seems as if hairdressers, makeup artists and clothing designers are getting as famous lately as the stars they enhance, a new American Movie Classics original series shows that it's not that new. The forces that turn hairdresser Frederic Fekkai into a brand name or that put Oprah Winfrey and Jewel on the cover of Vogue haven't vastly changed from those of the early days of filmmaking.
AMC's "The Hollywood Fashion Machine" aims to show how ego, ambition and talent create Hollywood's enduring brand of mystery and allure. The series, which premieres Monday at 4:30 p.m. with an episode on legendary costume designer Edith Head, sets a tone that's become rare in most televised fashion coverage--it's thoughtful and even respectful.
Unlike the fawning publicity pieces that often pass as fashion coverage, the AMC series scrubs the varnish off of the tales that surround people like Head. In documentary style, the episode reveals that Head employed lies and flattery to earn her eight Academy Awards and to create an exalted reputation (she, too, turned herself into a brand name for patterns and the like). Head owned up to many of her tactics, according to associates who describe her in the show.