Monday, May 22, 2017

Gilbert Adrian: 1950's Suits by California Designer

This 1950's newspaper advertisement for suits is a great showcase for fashion designer Gilbert Adrian.  This regional ad appeared in 1951 while he was at the very height of his career as a fashion designer with a salon that catered to Hollywood's young and fabulous. The fashion illustration is drawn to capture all of the style details that Adrian was famous for, in a layout that uses two suits in different scale, thus calling attention to the larger image. As was common at the time, the artist is not credited.

The silhouette for these suits is very slim, with some shoulder emphasis. Most women were choosing soft shoulders at this time, and the look shown here would not last much longer. These suits resemble the featured suit by Adrian posted earlier here. It is helpful in showing what the skirt must have looked like, along with fashionable accessories of the early 1950's.

The decorative seamlines that integrate darts and a close body fit are signature for Adrian, who was a master of pattern design by this time. While his suits would seem to be 'simple', upon closer examination, they are fitted with creative seam lines that departed from the usual bust darts for fit. He was also using custom made striped textiles and exploring the optical illusion and mitred lines in his work.

The ad copy reads: "British Samer...unsurpassed fabric achieving its perfect conclusion in these Adrian suits. Solid colors as well as a variety of intriguing weaves. $230" department store: Robinson's of California." In current economy, this price tag would be over $2,000.