When most of us think of Hedy Lamarr, we think of that silver screen siren, a figure in a sleek gown, dark hair and vixen’s smile. But Hedy’s grace and glamour pale in comparison to her intelligence and keen sense of invention.
Born Hedwig Kiesler in 1914 to Jewish Austrian parents, she spent her early years appearing in Austrian, German, and Czech films. But her life was not easy. She was stuck in a loveless, abusive marriage. In 1937 she defied the conventions of the time, not only leaving her husband but Europe entirely. She relocated to the United States, quickly making a name for herself as the most beautiful woman in Hollywood. She appeared in 30 films over the course of her 28 year career, becoming a household name and icon of modern beauty.
All throughout this time she worked ceaselessly on her true love – engineering. It’s said she would perform with such luminaries as Spencer Tracy, Jimmy Steward and Clark Gable, then immediately return to her trailer, to tinker with her inventions. She invented frequency hopping, a transmission technology that is at the heart of so many of our modern devices. It was first used by the United States Navy to control their equipment, but has become ubiquitous. Without her, there would be no wireless Internet or Bluetooth for keyboards, speakers and phones.
At the time many doubted that Hedy Lamarr could have ever come up with such sophisticated designs on her own. They assumed she was too beautiful. But that her startling intelligence and inventive spirit were the keys to her glamour, a gorgeous mind that made the world we live in today.
What would Hedy wear?
If we could give Hedy Lamarr a gift from our collection, the Cami Kimono would be our choice. Its sleek, timeless style reflects her enduring legacy, and the simplicity of the design would allow her to work in comfort.