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11-08-2006
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1903–1959 Adrian
Gilbert Adrian was a wonderful designer,
so why isn't there any thread on him?

Although I've seen his designs in countless films ever since I was a child,
I only became aware of him when they began to feature his work in US Vogue.

The dress modeled by Trish Goff immediately caught my eye.
It was so modern and, naive as I am, I had a hard time believing that it was created in 40's.

US Vogue
October 2000
source: bwgreyscale
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File Type: jpg Vogue(US)October2000.JPG (112.0 KB, 33 views)

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US Vogue
May 2002
source: missportman.com
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File Type: jpg planetnatalie_bwnp02.JPG (68.6 KB, 8 views)
File Type: jpg planetnatalie_bwnp04.JPG (96.0 KB, 10 views)

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source: metmuseum.org

Quote:
Gilbert Adrian was one of the most quintessentially American of 20th-century designers as well as a Hollywood costumer of great renown, who dressed Greta Garbo, Norma Shearer, Katharine Hepburn, and Joan Crawford for the screen to memorable effect. His fashion designs, no less dramatic, united a midcentury modernist sensibility with an extraordinarily engineered technique that continues to inspire designers to this day. This retrospective will depict both aspects of his career. Adrian’s sketches and photographs of the period will accompany his costumes for MGM as well as the most important examples of his fashion work.


Vogue, 1945
Designed by Gilbert Adrian (American, 1903–1959)
Photo: John Engstead/MPTV/1945



Suit, fall 1950
Designed by Gilbert Adrian (American, 1903–1959)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of Joseph S. Simms, 1979



"Roan Stallion," dress
Designed by Gilbert Adrian (American, 1903–1959)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of Gilbert Adrian, 1945


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11-08-2006
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thanks for the thread, dosviolines. i really like the 'constructive' look of that suit you posted. and i agree, there is something very modern about his work...

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source: dept.kent.edu

Quote:
The artistry of Adrian is displayed in the clean lines, dexterity with fabric and his consummate expression of imagination and humor that exists in every piece of clothing, costume, or creation. Adrian effortlessly combined garment construction skills, an understanding of the feminine image, and a graphic conception of the body to provide allure in wearable clothing. He shaped young Hollywood actresses into movie stars, transforming perceived figure faults into alluring assets. He galvanized the image of American women on the world stage by combining national feminine vitality with grace and sophistication.

Born in 1903 in Naugatuck Connecticut, Adrian's talents at drawing and his vivid imagination were revealed early on. Against his parents' reservations, Adrian enrolled in The New York School of Fine and Applied Arts (currently Parsons School of Design). After a rather lackluster year due to low grades, the school sent Adrian to the Paris affiliate in the hopes that the artistically rich surroundings would be enough to hold the young student's interests. While in Paris, Irving Berlin invited Adrian to create the costumes for his Music Box Review of 1921 after seeing a piece that Adrian had designed and made for a school friend. At the age of 18, less then one year after he started school in Paris, Adrian left school and sailed back to New York to start his costuming career. Natacha Rambova, the actress and wife of Rudolph Valentino, invited Adrian to Hollywood to design costumes for two of her husband's films. Once in Hollywood, Adrian soon began working for the famed movie director, Cecil B. DeMille. In 1928, DeMille merged his production company with MGM and brought Adrian along as costume designer. Adrian stayed with MGM, and quickly became their top costume designer working with the best of MGM actresses in over 200 films.


Adrian was responsible for creating and refining the images of actresses such as Joan Crawford, Norma Shearer, Jean Harlow and his favorite, Greta Garbo. Highlighting each woman's most appealing traits, he created the illusion of effortless perfection. Known for his extensive research and his understanding of character development, Adrian helped these actresses to explore and understand their character all while looking their most captivating.


By the late 1930s the Hollywood machine was reacting to WWII and the nation's slow recovery from the Great Depression. Gone were the big budgets for over the top dazzling costumes that Adrian was accustomed to and instead a call for more realistic and " down to earth" films and costumes reflecting the sober attitude of a country at war. Knowing that he needed all or nothing, Adrian decided to leave Hollywood and open a private retail business. For years stores had been copying Adrian gowns, such as the dress to the right from Letty Lynton, which is reported to have sold 50,000 units at the Macy's New York store alone. In 1942, Adrian opened his shop on Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills and quickly arranged to sell to one store in every major city.


From 1942 to 1952 Adrian created gowns and smart suits that many women treasured years after they bought them. Adrian infused all his pieces with the charm that he learned in Hollywood with the practicality and design innovation that he perceived women needed and wanted. Adrian formed an impressive collection of garments that continue to influence and be seen in the work of today's designers.


Noel Palomo-Lovinski
Guest-Curator

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source: dept.kent.edu

From his "Hollywood Years"

Quote:


Cocktail dress in yellow silk taffeta with brown ikat flowers
Label: Adrian Custom
c.1950-1952, United States of America
Believed to have been worn by Joan Crawford
Kent State University Museum
Rodgers/Silverman Collection
KSUM 1983.1.403

The shoulder swags on this gown would certainly support the idea that Joan Crawford wore this dress. For anyone that would have worn the dress, it would have made for an incredibly breathtaking entrance. The timelessness of Adrian's work is evident since it could easily be mistaken for a gown made in the 1980s.

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Continued...

Quote:


Ivory crepe ensemble with passementerie in aide-de-camp fashion
Label: Adrian Original
mid to late 1940s, United States of America
From the wardrobe of Rosalind Russell
Kent State University Museum
Rodgers/Silverman Collection
KSUM
1983.1.402ab

In this quintessentially mid-1940s gown, the military influence is in evidence by the use of braids, tassels and strong shoulders. The swag of fabric on the hip would have camouflaged ample hips or a rounded tummy. The bolero jacket adds width to the shoulders and minimizes the waist.

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...........

Quote:


Bronze Jersey evening dress with contrasting chartreuse train lining
Attributed to Adrian (label missing)
c.1948-1952, United States of America
Kent State University Museum
Rodgers/Silverman Collection
KSUM 1983.1.401

This sensational gown in an asymmetrical sweep creates the aura of Hollywood and "over the top" glamour. The fabric is arranged in such a way that any body type would have felt comfortable and beautiful. For all of Adrian's ingenuity, this dress is atypical of the designer's aesthetic. Towards the late 1940s and early 1950s, fashion was leaving the wide shouldered silhouette that Adrian had helped to make so popular. Christian Dior's "New Look" was at the forefront of fashion with padded hips, cinched waist and soft rounded shoulders. Adrian was forced to sink or swim with the tide of fashion.

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........

Quote:


Evening dress in black silk double-faced ottoman with satin back
Label: Adrian
mid to late 1940s, United States of America
Kent State University Museum
Rodgers/Silverman Collection
KSUM 1983.1.400

Adrian's subtle sense of drama is apparent in this dress that would have looked fantastic on Greta Garbo.

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..........

Quote:


Ivory crepe evening dress with self-fabric trimmings
Label: Adrian Original
"White Poodle" Design
c.1945-1946, United States of America
Kent State University Museum
Gift of Mrs. Sophie Ghiatis through Joseph Simms
KSUM 1984.23.38

Adrian used the 18th and 19th century military uniform's use of sashes and ribbons to suggest a patriotic feel rather than WWII military uniforms that were so popular during this time period. The dress is humorously named "White Poodle" for the self fabric loops that decorate the strategically placed bands of the dress.
You can read about his retail designs here

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Garbo in Adrian:

source: ebay
Originally posted by Luxury's Lap in the Garbo thread.
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File Type: jpg Garbo166 (ebay).jpg (120.9 KB, 9 views)

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Interesting

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Wow.

I am blown away by the 1950s jacket.

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I just found this great article about the costumes for Garbo's film "Camille"

Warning: it contains spoilers

source: artsjournal.com

Quote:
Sunday, March 13, 2005

Glamour: Fashion, Film, Fantasy / The Museum at FIT, NYC / February 15 - April 16, 2005

Camille; directed by George Cukor; starring Greta Garbo, Robert Taylor, and Lionel Barrymore; gowns by Adrian; Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1936



Any theory that may lie behind Glamour: Fashion, Film, Fantasy, the current FIT exhibition curated by Valerie Steele and Fred Dennis, pales in face of its simple, captivating reality. It’s essentially a huge room peopled by row upon row of mannequins wearing gowns that, like the movies and the stars they’re associated with, provide a blessed antidote to reality. To make sense of this uninflected panorama of extravagant gorgeousness, you instinctively seek out a few objects (as the pros call them, though the word is a pitiful choice) that were meant for you—not for your body, but for your imagination. And then, inevitably, you zero in on the single one that speaks to you most particularly. Or—who knows, the art of costume employs so much witchery—perhaps it chooses you.

The item with which I bonded was a gown by Adrian, created for Greta Garbo to wear in George Cukor’s Camille. Executed in black velour, it has a reticent cut—a demure sweetheart neckline, a snugly fitting bodice. From the trim waistline, a generous skirt falls with cushioned weight, extending slightly at the back as if to hint (only hint, mind you) at a train. A spray of black tulle capping the shoulders suggests a pair of wings, the gown’s sole concession to the frivolity of lightness. A modest “brooch” formed from bits of crystal and metal, is anchored dead center on the bosom, like a family heirloom dutifully displayed. But, shooting out a few slender bronze rays, letting fall a sprinkling of minute sparkles that might be stars, it introduces the idea of a celestial universe. This theme expands—explodes, actually—on the skirt, which looks as if a lavish and reckless hand had flung a galaxy across it. The glittering, gleaming incrustation contains clusters of crystals in myriad shapes—squares, rectangles, elongated diamonds, teardrops, five-pointed stars—and graduated sizes. Raised squares and domed circles are emphasized by marcasite-style frames, while flocks of small and even smaller pewter gray sequins create the illusion of stardust. This evocation of a galaxy recalls the work of Schiaparelli’s “Zodiac” collection (with its extravagant beading by the House of Lesage), but where Schiaparelli’s fantasy glories in its ostentation, Adrian’s treatment is more innocent, like something out of a child’s dream.

The gown is quietly and extraordinarily beautiful. It also turns out not to have been used in the film. After much inquiry around town, initiated by a puzzled query on my part, it has been relabeled to indicate that it’s simply one of several variations proposed for the occasion. But I didn’t know that when I fell in love with it, and afterwards, as in most such affairs, there was no going back.

From the sheer pleasure of gazing at this object, I went compulsively further, as writers will. What could be more fitting for a dance fanatic, after all, than to screen the film for which the gown was designed, to see it in motion?

The wardrobe Adrian created for Garbo in Camille demonstrates the fantasy side of a designer equally renowned for the subtle, witty tailoring of ostensibly Plain Jane tweed suits. It is ravishing piece by piece. What’s more astonishing, though, is the use of the costumes, in sequence, as a metaphor for sublime beauty haunted—and finally extinguished—by death. (Should anyone in the Western world still be unaware of the fact, let me say that the heroine of Camille succumbs to TB—a scourge that art has somehow associated with high romance.)

Marguerite Gautier—the lady of the camellias, as Alexandre Dumas calls her in the novel that spawned not just this film but Verdi’s La Traviata and minor but poignant ballets by Ashton and Tudor—habitually arrays herself in the white of her signature flower. She may be a kept woman, we’re given to understand, but once she encounters Armand Duval she experiences genuine, selfless love, and the white comes to stand for the purity and innocence of romance free from corruption.

After their initial encounter, Marguerite invites Armand to her birthday celebration, to which, as we see first in close-up, she wears a gown that’s an enormous froth of white tulle, like beaten egg whites. It’s offset only by a single but striking ornament—a huge black bow pinned between her breasts like a “scarlet” letter, signifying death. Moments later, when she’s captured in a long shot, standing and then dancing, we see that both bodice and skirt are sparsely strewn with large glittery paillettes in the form of stars, an indication that the heavens are her inevitable realm. The gown’s drooping gauzy sleeves, dance aficionados will enjoy noting, might belong to the ethereal costume of a Romantic-era ballerina.

Further on in the film, another white gown—far less diaphanous than the first, as if the air had been sucked out of it—bears two smaller black bows, one under the other, like a sign with a definite yet still undecipherable meaning. Thin lines of black edge the shoulders, the décolletage, and the giggly puffed sleeves as well, like a warning—indeed, an omen.

Marguerite’s health deteriorates. She and Armand retreat to the country where they deceive themselves into thinking she will be cured by a life of idyllic simplicity and calm in the fresh air. In the horse-drawn carriage taking them to their rural destination, she’s swathed in a black coat and hat that refuse to reflect a single ray of light. Only a white scarf at her neck recalls a happier time. Black has become the dominant hue enveloping her, white reduced to a minor presence.

At the cottage, shortly before the arrival of Armand’s father, who will persuade Marguerite to sacrifice her love to her lover’s future, she wears a modestly long-sleeved, full-skirted white dress. As if to reinforce the image of decorum, the camera keeps steadfastly away from her throat, the locus, in other scenes—when Garbo flings back her head in abandon—of nudity abandoning itself to erotic pleasure. The chaste outfit in which Marguerite receives her lover’s parent—and submits to his request, which means ultimate self-sacrifice—is slashed by a black waistband anchored by a tight bow at the center, its long inky streamers streaking down the ballooning skirt with the assured ruthlessness of the incision made by a scalpel in the hand of an autopsy surgeon.

Attending the wedding of Armand’s luminously virginal sister, Marguerite extinguishes the white of her dress with a black bonnet and stole, to which she subsequently adds a black pelisse that might as well be a shroud. (White, after all, is for untouched brides, whom a wedding’s witnesses are forbidden to rival.) These cover-ups, very Victorian, are the only ugly garments in the film. Restitution will be made for this incursion by Garbo’s final costume, a pure white nightdress designer-cut for a saint. Standing to greet the lover returned to her at the last moment, the expiring heroine tucks a single white camellia into its waistband. In the black and white film the petals edging the blossom suggest the black borders on the creamy letter paper the Victorians used for death announcements and ensuing condolences.

Meanwhile, at the end of the scene in which, breaking her heart, Marguerite sends Armand away by telling him she prefers the man who formerly kept her, she wraps an enormous length of white fabric around her, turning her body into a narrow fluted column, a premonition of an effigy on a tombstone.

Now comes the passage I had been anticipating so eagerly. Having renounced her liaison with Armand, Marguerite has returned to the lover who previously supported her hectic life in the demimonde. She appears with her protector at a raucous soiree, where Armand, returned, encounters her just as she is being insulted by her escort. All cool subtlety, Armand reprimands his unworthy rival, then triumphs over him at the gaming table, making a killing at his expense. Then, in bitterness and barely contained rage, he hurls the money he has won at Marguerite, so that the huge, crumpled bills spill down the length of her dress.

I assumed that, in this scene, Garbo would be wearing the gown I’d fallen in love with at FIT. But no. She’s dressed in a gaudily elaborated version of it—the paillettes scintillating everywhere, the decoration on the bodice amped up, the black tulle that had been confined to the sleeves not merely augmented and fluffed out there but also extended over the entire garment, closely wrapping the gown and, by implication, the body, like the netting used to surround an offering of luxurious chocolates. Undeniably, this version of the costume is metaphorically correct. On the surface, Marguerite has been reduced to the status of luxury goods, available to anyone who can afford her. But the costume used in the film neglects the pathos of her situation, while the gown on display at FIT, grasping it so truly, is not merely beautiful but deeply touching as well. Of course, even to consider my claim, you have to believe that a dress—nothing more than a few yards of cunningly cut black velvet, a little jet tulle, and a shower of sparkles—can have emotionally persuasive power. The proposition can’t be argued. It has to be succumbed to.

Photo: Irving Solero: Adrian: Movie costume for Greta Garbo in Camille: Black velvet and tulle with beads and embroidery; The Museum at FIT; Gift of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc.
© 2005 Tobi Tobias

posted by tobi_tobias @ Sunday, March 13, 2005

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Quote:
Originally Posted by DosViolines
US Vogue
May 2002
source: missportman.com
Oops, forgot to add the third picture
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