Saturday, September 10, 2005

Fashion in Film - Adrian of M-G-M

In "Thalberg" (Crown Publishers, Inc.; New York; 1994; pages 127 - 138), author Roland Flamini covers the importance of M-G-M's costume designer, Adrian, to the stars he dressed:
Adrian developed a similar aesthetic [to Cedric Gibbons]. Movie costumes had to do more than look good on the screen and were effective if--as he said--"they helped an actress to realize her role." Most of all, Adrian was an expert at hiding a star's faults and highlighting her good points" for Norma Shearer, raised waistlines to make her legs seem longer and an extended shoulder to make her hips seem narrower; for Joan Crawford, exaggerated shoulders to detract from her short-waisted figure, frills everywhere to minimize her aggressive stride, extralarge brimmed hats to complement her wide mouth. The sensuous figure-line gowns he designed for Shearer and [Jean] Harlow in the 1930s gave satin a bad name. Emotional and gnome-like, Adrian kept armies of seamstresses busy round the clock creating the extravagant clothes that became trademarks of M-G-M's grand style.


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