The hatter and designer Adolfo F. Sardiña was born in Havana, Cuba, in 1933.
In 1948 with the help of his aunt Maria Lopez, he moved to New York, where he began working as an apprentice at Bergdorf Goodman.
In 1951 he moved to Paris, and began to work with Balenciaga.
He then moved back to New York and to Bergdorf Goodman, but now to work as an hatter who signed his works as “Adolfo of Emme”.
In the 1950s, he became famous for his hat models that dispensed with frames, wires or fillers and used only sewing.
He won a Coty award in 1955 as a young fashion designer.
In 1962 he opened his own brand.
In 1963 he opened another two brands, “Adolfo Réalités” and “Adolfo II”, only working in the designs of the brands products and outsourcing manufacture by the “Award Hat Company”. Both companies were created to produce products more affordable.
Shortly after opening his brands, Adolfo began to manufacture clothes that matched his hats. His creations included hooded jersey caps, hats with removable goggles and huge fur berets.
In the 1960s he launched the Panama Planter hat made of wheat straw and adorned with a striped jersey ribbon or strip; Furry Cossack hats made of wool or fur velvet and variations of Coconut Hat and Pillbox.
His clothes had vestiges of costume, such as: A long officer cloak with epaulettes and gold buttons; pleated plaid skirts; organdy jumpers; Gibson Girl blouses and Patchwork skirts.
In the 1970s he abandoned the theatrical elements and began to manufacture more classic clothes, basing his collections on classic knitted tailleurs and tailor dresses.
One of his most famous pieces is a lady-like cardigan inspired by Chanel, for whom he also worked briefly early in his career.
Some of his clients were: The Duchess of Windsor, Gloria Vanderbilt, Betsy Bloomingdale, Jackie Kennedy Onassis and Nancy Reagan.
In 1993 Adolfo ended his career as a designer to focus his work on managing his brands.
Bibliography: Allan, Georgina O’Hara; Enciclopédia da Moda: De 1840 À Década de 90: Companhia das Letras, 2010.