Sunday, September 13, 2009


Born in Naugatuck, Connecticut on March 3, 1903, Adrian Adolph Greenberg trained at the Parsons School of Fine Arts. It is rumored that songwriter Irving Berlin hired the then 18 year old designer for a Broadway presentation of "The Music Box Revue" after seeing his creations in Paris, where he had renamed himself Gilbert Adrian. It was Natacha Rambova, the wife of Rudolph Valentino and movie art director, who gave Gilbert Adrian access to Hollywood royalty in the 1920’s.

He designed for two of Rudy’s films and the rest is history.
 Adrian turned ordinary actresses into immortal icons during the age of Hollywood glamour. His reported favorite was Greta Garbo but his clientele also included Norma Shearer and Jean Harlow and, yes, he gave Joan Crawford those unforgettable shoulder pads. After 13 years he opened his own shop in Beverly Hills. 

His design emphasis was on simplicity but he had an ability to drape that is still unrivaled to this day.

He was a 1944 Coty award winner and unfortunately never won an Oscar because the category of costume design wasn’t created until after he left MGM. He was the head designer for over 250 movies, including "The Wizard of Oz" that featured the legendary ruby slippers. He had a controversial marriage to the actress Janet Gaynor and they lived in a ranch in Brazil in the last years of his life. Sadly, while making arrangements to design costumes for the upcoming Broadway musical "Camelot," he died on September 13, 1959 at the young age of 54 and his death was ruled a suicide.


  1. Looks like that book would have a lot of pretty fantabulous photos.

    And what was 'controversial' about his marriage to Janet Gaynor?

  2. Rumor had it over the years that she was "married" to Mary Martin!

  3. Oh my. In my 36 years I've never heard that Mary Martin swung that way...then again, I can't say I was exactly digging for that information either.