Indepth Arts News: |
"Adrian: American Glamour"
2002-05-14 until 2002-08-18
Metropolitan Museum of Art
New York, NY,
The Costume Institute will celebrate one of America's most distinguished
stylemakers from cinema's golden years with an unprecedented exhibition of
works by Hollywood designer Gilbert Adrian. On view at The Metropolitan
Museum of Art from May 14 to August 18, 2002, Adrian: American
Glamour will feature a selection of more than 100 designs. The sensational
and sometimes provocative costumes worn by such legendary Hollywood
actresses as Greta Garbo, Jean Harlow, Joan Crawford, and Katharine
Hepburn will complement the equally glamorous ensembles of his high
Drawn from the Museum's Costume Institute, The Brooklyn
Museum, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, among others, the
exhibition will present a comprehensive look at Adrian's lifetime of work as
an artist, a costume designer, and an American couturier.
Gilbert Adrian, known simply as Adrian, epitomized the magic of Hollywood
glamour and created a unique and quintessentially American style. He was
born in Connecticut in 1903 and began his career as a designer for Broadway
musicals. In 1925, he moved from New York City to Los Angeles to work in
film, most notably at MGM, until 1941. During the darkest years of the Great
Depression, Adrian combined an appreciation for detail in Parisian couture
with a distinctive American sensibility and created unforgettable fashions for
the big screen. Among his most memorable designs are the bias-cut silk
gowns that became Jean Harlow's signature look and Joan Crawford's
broad-shouldered and narrow-waisted power suits that pioneered a
revolution in the way American women dressed. Other examples from his
Hollywood years will include the opulent and often seductive ensembles from
films such as Mata Hari, Romance, Camille, Marie Antoinette, DinnerT
and The Philadelphia Story. Also on view will be hats designed for Greta
Garbo in Romance (1930) and Camille (1936), for Jean Harlow in
Blonde Bombshell (1933), and for Joan Crawford in The Gorgeous Hussy
The exhibition will focus on Gilbert Adrian's career as a high fashion
designer in the years from 1942 to 1952 when he had a custom salon in
Beverly Hills and a ready-to-wear line in the most exclusive specialty
stores of the day. Adrianís fashion designs included his strong-shouldered
suits, provocative cocktail dresses, and art-inflected evening gowns.
Significantly, contemporary designers such as Azzedine Alaia and Geoffrey
Beene admire Adrian for his use of imaginative themes and sophisticated
technical constructions, all inflected by his signature wit.
Adrian: American Glamour will be organized by guest curator Jane
Trapnell Marino with the support of Harold Koda, curator-in-charge of The
Costume Institute. Ms. Trapnell Marino has worked as a costume designer for
films and television for more than two decades.
In conjunction with the exhibition, a variety of educational programs will be
scheduled. These will include films, lectures, and gallery talks for general
visitors and activities for teachers and families.