"She was five feet two and had difficult proportions: high waist, large bosom, short arms, no behind, and wide hips. I was not awed by her."
Readers, Sharaff was talking about Elizabeth Taylor. Can you imagine?!
My first thought: If Taylor had "difficult proportions," the rest of us are screwed. It's sad to read a quote like that--I mistakenly assume that Hollywood had more realistic expectations of stars in the 50s and 60s, when a more womanly figure was in fashion.
On the other hand, it's kind of nice to read a designer's candor about the challenges of obtaining Hollywood perfection, even for an hourglass figure like Taylor. Obviously, even female costumers are not immune from the pressures of creating a perfect screen-ready body at any cost.
Sharaff won the Oscar for her designs for Cleopatra in 1963. Despite Sharaff being underwhelmed by Taylor, they must have been on good terms. Sharaff designed the dress Liz wore for her first wedding to Richard Burton.
Sharaff seems to have been known for her bitchy quips. Of working with Faye Dunaway on Mommie Dearest, Sharaff said: "Yes, you may enter Miss Dunaway's dressing room, but first you must throw a raw steak in--to divert her attention."
Sharaff, like Edith Head, had an idiosyncratic sense of style. She wore super heavy eyeliner, a dramatic up-do, and lots of black.