Gilbert Adrian was not a Paris couturier, he was born in Connecticut and was an American fashion designer and artist of the highest caliber. By virtue of being American in a Parisian dominated industry, he was essentially overlooked by fashion editors during his career; nevertheless, he was considered an absolute genius by not only the American garment industry, but by anyone who was anyone in Hollywood. Although his face never graced the big screen, he was easily one of MGM's biggest stars, designing for any film he desired, for 12 years and well over 200 movies. He dressed the biggest stars of the screen, including Norma Shearer, Greta Garbo, Jean Harlow, Joan Crawford and Janet Gaynor (who became his wife) just to name a few.
This Adrian suit, which may very well have been from his debut collection in the fall of 1942, features quintessential Adrian styling~ precise, detailed, sculpted, luxurious. Although he was known for his extravagant designs, he had the uncanny ability to discard the non-essential to create an opulent simplicity. When Adrian left the film business in 1941 and launched his studio, Adrian Ltd., he made it his priority, in spite of the wartime climate, that his clothing would be of the finest materials and craftsmanship, and he encouraged other American designers to do the same. Only one store in each major US city could carry the Adrian line. This ensemble was made for Marshall Fields in Washington D.C.. The quality is undeniably couture.
Fabricated from a tan (or as I call it, a pale natural blonde) British Samek ~ a light breathable wool. Jacket lined in a peach colored silk.
Labels: Adrian in British Samek material
Label: Marshall Field & Company 28 Shop Reg. US Pat Off. 28 East Washington Street
In excellent vintage condition, fresh from our specialty cleaners.
Skirt: 27" Waist; 38" Hips; 31" Length
Jacket: 36-37" Bust; 29" Waist when Closed; 17" across the shoulders; 25 ½" Length from mid neck; 19" sleeve from under the arm
Condition: Excellent vintage, clean. Two very small holes (about 2mm each), one at the back of one shoulder near the seam. The other about 5" from the waistband at the front side of the skirt (covered by the jacket in the photos).
Gilbert Adrian Suit circa 1942