The Ask SAM feature of the Winston-Salem Journal answers a question about the inspiration for Edna Mode, that costume designer character from brad Bird's THE INCREDIBLES. Here it is, for the record:
Oh, that cagey Brad Bird!
A: Brad Bird, the cartoonist who created "The Incredibles" — and who provides the voice of Edna Mode, the bombastic, diminutive scene-stealing character — has been cagey about her origins. Linda Hunt, the actress you are referring to, is one possibility who has been frequently mentioned.
But the character seems more directly inspired by Edith Head, a famous Hollywood fashion designer who won eight Oscar awards for best costume design and was nominated 35 times. Other possible inspirations include Lotte Lenya, who played a Bond villain in the movie "From Russia With Love," and fashion designers Anna Wintour and Mary Quant. In a 2004 article in Entertainment Weekly, Bird commented, "I've heard, like, 15 different people she reminds people of."
I had always thought it was Oscar-winning Hollywood movie costume designer Edith Head (below):