A while back I did a post about desginer Gilbert Adrian, and his fabulous fashions from the 1940s. And it’s not surprising women were drawn to his creations. Because from 1928-1941 he was the couturier for some of the most famous stars in Hollywood. His unforgettable costumes epitomized the glamour of the Golden Era of films. Known just as “Adrian” this man certainly had the talent for making a woman look sensational and beautiful!
He was solely responsible for the signature looks of Jean Harlow in her clinging bias cut gowns and Joan Crawford. whose narrow waisted, broad shouldered suits became a huge fashion trend in the 40s. He also designed for Greta Garbo, Katherine Hepburn and Norma Shearer, just to name a few!
A slinky Adrian gown for Jean Harlow, who played Kitty Packard , Wallace Beery’s wisecracking wife, in Dinner at Eight. Her evening dresses from this movie became the fashion rage in the 30s.
Adrian designed this glittery gown for Joan Crawford, who played Crystal Allen, the husband stealing hussy in “The Women”
A goddess like Adrian gown for Helga, a.k.a. Susand Lenox, played by Greta Garbo who co-starred with Clark Gable in this film.
This costume Adrian designed for Greta Garbo in Mata Hari cost $2000.00 to make and weighed 50 pounds!
Adrian designed this dramatic gray Persian lamb outfit for Norma Shearer in Idiot’s Delight, where she played a fake Russian countess. I love the suede platform boots she’s wearing!
In the 1930s the movie studios produced many musical extravaganzas. So Adrian often designed costumes for the whole cast, including all the chorus girls. Below is one of his costumes from “The Great Ziegfeld”.
Adrian also designed all the costumes for the “Wizard of Oz”, including the famous ruby red slippers worn by Dorothy/Judy Garland. Several pair were made during the filming of the movie, and each shoe supposedly was covered with 2300 sequins. One pair is on permanent display at the Smithsonian in Wash, D.C.
When Hollywood decided Garbo needed a new, more modern, American look for her last film “Two Faced Woman” , that was pretty much the end of Adrian’s costuming career. Garbo left Hollywood because she didn’t like the clothes the studio was trying to foist on her, and Adrian followed right after, saying that “When Garbo walked out of the studio, so did glamour, and so did I.”
Do you have a favorite movie that features designs by Gilbert Adrian?