The Fashion Institute of Technology’s School of Graduate Studies and The Museum at FIT present Adrian: Hollywood and Beyond. On view through April 1, the exhibition, organized by graduate students in the Fashion and Textile Studies program, highlights Gilbert Adrian’s masterful techniques and his work both as a famous Hollywood costume designer and a successful fashion designer.
It is also the first exhibition to focus on the importance of textiles within his work. Presenting a selection of garments, textiles, advertisements, and film clips, the exhibition showcases Adrian’s innovative use of print as well as his skilled construction techniques, within an environment that evokes his Beverly Hills salon.
Adrian (1903–1959) began his career in fashion illustration before moving into costume design, eventually designing for more than 250 films at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) from the late 1920s to the early 1950s. He was able to parlay his success as a Hollywood costume designer into ready-to-wear fashion through studio partnerships with national department stores, such as Macy’s.
The exhibition showcases Adrian’s expertise handling fabric and construction. The sharply tailored silhouette for which he is best known is most clearly expressed in his celebrated suits. The suit jackets, often paired with slim skirts, were triangular in shape. The shoulders were emphasized with pads, allowing the waist to appear narrow. This style of suit dominated the American fashion scene during the Second World War.
In their second year of study, students in the Fashion and Textile Studies: History, Theory, Museum Practice Master of Arts program in FIT’s School of Graduate Studies work in collaboration with The Museum at FIT to create and install an exhibition. This year-long course prepares students to enter the workforce as curators, conservators, registrars, or museum educators.