Adrian, Gilbert

(1903-1959)
   The legendary film and fashion designer who created signature styles for Hollywood stars including Joan Crawford, Greta Garbo, Marlene Dietrich, and Carole Lombard. Adrian created a "look" for the stars he designed for, melding their personalities, the roles they played, and their individual physique into one recognizable fashion statement. The fashion industry capitalized on Adrian's designs by providing knock-offs which were sought after by the movie-going public. In part, it was the beginning of lifestyle-dressing. American women redefined themselves based on their favorite stars' clothing and Seventh Avenue sold a record number of these mass-produced copies. Adrian also had the ability to create fashion based on his client's physical attributes. Such was the case with American actress Joan Crawford and her unusually broad shoulders. The dress designed by Adrian for Crawford for the movie Lette Lynton (1932), emphasizing the shoulder, served as the springboard for shoulder pads in women's clothing. Adrian was also the creator of the first power suit for women, again using shoulder pads as a significant design element. This style suit played a key fashion role in the 1980s when women took on the issue of equality with men in the corporate world of business.
   Born Adrian Adolph Greenberg in 1903 in Connecticut, Adrian studied fashion at what is now Parsons School of Design. After his retirement from the film industry, Adrian continued in fashion with his own couture and ready-to-wear business located in Hollywood. He died in 1959 and will always be considered one of America's great designers.
   See also Armani, Giorgio; Ford, Tom.

Historical Dictionary of the Fashion Industry. .

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