Adrian Adrian
Costume designer
Adrian Adrian
Adrian Adolph Greenberg, most widely known as Adrian, was an American costume designer whose most famous costumes were for The Wizard of Oz and other Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer films of the 1930s and 1940s. During his career, he designed costumes for over 250 films and his screen credits usually read as "Gowns by Adrian". On occasion, he was credited as Gilbert Adrian, a combination of his father's forename and his own.
Biography
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Timeline
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    FIFTIES
  • 1959
    Age 55
    In 1959 he was asked to design costumes for the upcoming Broadway musical Camelot.
    More Details Hide Details In the early stages of this project, Adrian died suddenly of a heart attack at the age of 56. He was buried in Hollywood Forever Cemetery.
  • FORTIES
  • 1952
    Age 48
    A serious heart attack in 1952 forced the closure of Adrian, Ltd. in Beverly Hills.
    More Details Hide Details He and wife Janet bought a "fazenda" (ranch) outside of Brasilia in Brazil's interior and spent half of their year there. He came out of his retirement and returned to the States to design the costumes for "Grand Hotel," a musical version of the 1932 MGM film "Grand Hotel," which starred Paul Muni and Viveca Lindfors, but which only played in Los Angeles and San Francisco before Mr. Muni left the Broadway-bound show.
    He only returned to MGM for a final film, 1952's Lovely to Look At.
    More Details Hide Details Adrian was never nominated for an Academy Award as the costume category was not introduced during the time of his major work for the studios.
  • THIRTIES
  • 1939
    Age 35
    Though he was openly gay, he married Janet Gaynor in 1939, possibly in response to the anti-gay attitudes of the movie studio heads and the sex-negative atmosphere created by the Production Code.
    More Details Hide Details
    Adrian is perhaps best known today for his work on the 1939 movie classic, The Wizard of Oz.
    More Details Hide Details Adrian designed the film's red-sequined ruby slippers for Judy Garland. Adrian left MGM in 1941 to set up his own independent fashion house, though he still worked closely with Hollywood.
  • TWENTIES
  • 1931
    Age 27
    The Eugénie hat he created for her in the film Romance became a sensation in 1931 and influenced millinery styles for the rest of the decade.
    More Details Hide Details Adrian was behind Crawford's signature outfits with large shoulder pads, which later spawned a fashion trend. Adrian was most famous for his evening gown designs for these actresses, a talent exemplified in The Women. The Women (1939), filmed in black and white, it originally included a 10-minute fashion parade in Technicolor, which featured Adrian's most outré designs; often cut in TV screenings, it has been restored to the film by Turner Classic Movies. Adrian was also well known for his extravagant costumes, as in The Great Ziegfeld (1936) and opulent period dresses such as those for Camille (1936) and Marie Antoinette (1938). Adrian famously insisted on the best materials and workmanship in the creation of his designs.
  • 1928
    Age 24
    In 1928, Cecil B. DeMille moved temporarily to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Adrian was hired as chief costume designer at the studio.
    More Details Hide Details While DeMille eventually returned to Paramount, Adrian stayed on at MGM. In his career at that studio, Adrian designed costumes for over 200 films. During this time, Adrian worked with some of the biggest female stars of the day like Greta Garbo, Norma Shearer, Jeanette MacDonald, Jean Harlow, Katharine Hepburn and Joan Crawford. He worked with Crawford 28 times, Shearer 18 and Harlow 9. He worked with Garbo over the course of most of her career.
  • 1924
    Age 20
    Adrian was hired by Rudolph Valentino's wife Natacha Rambova to design costumes for A Sainted Devil in 1924.
    More Details Hide Details He would also design for Rambova's film, What Price Beauty? (1925). Adrian became head costume designer for Cecil B. DeMille's independent film studio.
  • TEENAGE
  • 1922
    Age 18
    In 1922, he transferred to NYSFAA's Paris campus and while there was hired by Irving Berlin.
    More Details Hide Details Adrian then designed the costumes for Berlin's The Music Box Revue.
  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1903
    Born
    Adrian was born on March 3, 1903 in Naugatuck, Connecticut, to Gilbert and Helena (Pollack) Greenberg.
    More Details Hide Details Contrary to some sources, Adrian's father Gilbert was born in New York and his mother Helena in Waterbury, Connecticut. It was his grandparents, who were immigrants. Joseph Greenburg and his wife Frances were from Russia, while Adolph Pollak and Bertha (Mendelsohn) Pollak were from Bohemia and Germany, respectively. He entered the New York School for Fine and Applied Arts (now Parsons School of Design in 1920.
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