Costume and fashion designer, born Adrian Adolph Greenberg on March 3, 1903 in Naugatuck, Connecticut.

He studied at “Parsons School of Design” and in 1922 moved to the Paris campus. He was hired there by Irving Berlin and made the costumes for the performances of “The Music Box Revue”.

In 1926 he was contracted by Cecil B. DeMille to be chief costume designer of his film studio, and when he joined MGM in 1928, Adrian joined him.

Soon he started working with the biggest stars of the time, among them were Greta Garbo, Norma Shearer, Jeanette MacDonald, Jean Harlow, Katharine Hepburn and Joan Crawford.

One of his most famous works is Judy Garland’s costume in “The Wizard of Oz”.

Adrian also worked with period films, but was not in the habit of maintaining much historical accuracy in his clothes, sometimes modifying details that he thought were more in line with the current fashion. But despite this, his historical clothes were also very well received.

In addition to being well received Adrian’s costumes were copied to Retail. In 1941 he left MGM and the work as a costume designer (only to return to work for MGM once, ten years later for the film “The Love Was Born in Paris”).

In 1942 he opened his own brand, along with his partner Woody Feurt. His first fashion show was held at his Beverly Hills home with shoppers in the audience. One of the runway models, the black model 346 named “A Black Dress”, became one of the most sought-after pieces with years of a waiting line to buy it. In 1948 he opened a branch of his store in New York.

Adrian’s success was so great that the silhouette of the 1940s was the silhouette he created. Shoulders in evidence, jackets attached to the body, triangular line and a pencil skirt. When the New Look arrived Adrian went against it, he didn’t like the corset silhouette it had.

In 1952 he suffered a heart attack that forced him to close his clothing line. Soon after he moved to Brazil, buying a farm in Brasilia. In 1958 he returned to costume design for the musicals “Grand Hotel” and “Camelot”, but unfortunately before he could finish the work of “Camelot” he suffered another heart attack and died on September 14, 1959.

Adrian has worked on over 250 films, some of them were: A Woman of Affairs, The Wizard of Oz, Lovely to Look At, As You Desire Me, Letty Lynton,The Women, The Great Ziegfeld, Camille, Marie Antoinette, Woman of the Year, The Philadelphia Story, Humoresque and Dinner at Eight.

Adrian never won an Oscar, since the costume category was only included in the awards after Adrian’s career as a costume designer was over, but he won a Coty award.

Two videos containing some of Adrians creations:

Some of his costume designs:

The Women

Costumes designed by Adrian in George Cukor's 1939 film, The Women

Sadie McKee

Gilbert Adrian costume for Joan Crawford in Sadie McKee


Joan Crawford modeling Change, a two-piece silk dinner dress with gold paillettes designed by Gilbert Adrian

The Philadelphia Story

Katherine Hepburn in Philadelphia Story

Dinner at Eight

dinner at eight

The Wizard of Oz

wizard of oz

The Wizard of Oz

wizard of oz 2

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Bibliography: Callan, Georgina O’Hara; Enciclopédia da moda de 1840 à década de 90 / Georgina O’Hara Callan ; verbetes brasileiros Cynthia Garcia : tradução Glória Maria de Mello Carvalho, Maria Ignez França – São Paulo : Companhia das Letras, 2007.

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