Adrian – Costume Designer

After enjoying the fashion in Grand Hotel I was curious about the designer behind the costumes. It turns out a rather prolific designer made the gowns in that film. He was known simply as Adrian and born in 1903. He started out at the New York School for Fine and Applied Arts and later went to study at the Paris campus of his college. There he was asked by Irving Berlin to design costumes for Berlin’s Music Box Revue.

Adrian got his first break in Hollywood after being hired by Rudolph Valentino’s wife to design costumes for The Sainted Devil in 1924 (a lost film).

rudolph valentino costume adrian

In 1928 he moved from Paramount to MGM, where he stayed for the rest of his career, designing costumes for over 200 films. He made costumes for many of Greta Garbo’s films including Queen Christina, Anna Christie and Anna Karenina.

greta garbo anna christie

Do a Google Image Search for Joan Crawford and you’ll be flooded with pictures of her in floor-length gowns. Pick any one and chances are Adrian designed it since he made costumes for 28 of her films. She was a stunning model…

joan crawford

joan crawford adrian


He also dressed Jean Harlow in the sexy bias-cut wonders she was famous for.

jean harlow adrian

Katharine Hepburn’s gown in The Philadelphia Story is also an Adrian creation.

katharine hepburn adrian

But his most famous costumes are undoubtedly those in The Wizard of Oz!

wizard of oz adrian

wizard of oz ruby slippers adrian



3 thoughts on “Adrian – Costume Designer

  1. Adrian’s creations were so marvelous, chic, and beautiful. They really embody so many of the high points of the 20-40s. It’s amazing to think that his work appeared in more than 200 different films. Talk about an illustrious career!

    ♥ Jessica

    • Thanks for your comment. :) Yes, I was so impressed when I found out he’d created so many costumes. Amazing that a costume designer could have had as much impact as a fashion designer. Films don’t often require that level of glamour anymore, except if they’re set in the olden days. It’s a shame.

  2. when I was a little girl, i would thumb through “those glorious glamour years” at the public library, adn just spend hours looking at the costumes of Adrian and Edith Head, all the intricate gowns for the MGM stars. Wizard of Oz was my favorite as well; I wonder what he’d think of the costumes in the new movie coming out?

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