Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Dress of the Day - August 2, 2011

Dress of the Day: Adrian, Evening dresses for Joan Crawford, Norma Shearer, and Rosalind Russell in "The Women" (1939).
Born Adrian Adolph Greenberg in Naugatuck, CT, Adrian became one of the most important designers in Hollywood in the 1930s. He is known for developing the images of Joan Crawford, Greta Garbo, and other stars. Adrian turned Crawford's unfashionably broad shoulders into an asset by accentuating them with shoulder pads, setting a major 1940s trend (see yesterday's suit). In addition to this fantastic film, he designed costumes for "The Wizard of Oz," "Grand Hotel," "Pride and Prejudice," and other classics for a total of around 200 films.  He left Hollywood in 1941 to open his own fashion house.
In this photo, we see the three main characters in the film, their roles conveyed through the gowns Adrain designed for them. Norma Shearer (left), plays Mary Haines, the loyal, wronged wife who is determined to get her way in the end. Joan Crawford is Crystal Allen, the seductive, brassy Other Woman. Rosalind Russell is Sylvia Fowler, an insufferable gossip.
The gowns for rivals Shearer and Crawford show they are opposites - Shearer's is demure white with a jeweled waistband in a similar shape as Crawford's, but her gown is flashy gold lamé. She shows a lot of skin, even cutouts on her torso. Russell's gown is clearly high fashion as befits her status as a society woman, but it is fussy and overdone (note the headpiece), just like she is.

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