Adrian velvet hat, 1940s
Gilbert Adrian was the most important costume designer in the history of the film. He presided over the costume department at the most powerful studio, MGM, in its glory years, 1928-1939. More than any other designer, Adrian created and sustained "Hollywood glamour."
He did this by inspired, innovative costuming of the great female stars: Greta Garbo, Joan Crawford, Jean Harlow, and Judy Garland. As the designer for the stars and later at Adrian Ltd., Gilbert Adrian proved that high style fashion for American women did not have to originate in Paris.
This unique, softly sculptured velvet hat is an ingenious takeoff on the beret. Like a traditional beret, the top can be tilted and draped to suit the wearer. The top is a flat piece of self-lined velvet attached to a head band. The headband adds a slight lift and definition to the crown, while holding the hat on the head. The front section is stiffened with black net. The hat was originally sold at the Julius Garfinckel store in Washington.
Because this distinctive hat is so visually arresting, it lends a romantic aura to the wearer. The viewer thinks, "Where have I seen it? In which film did Greta Garbo wear it? Or was it Catherine de Medici at her marriage in 1533 to Henry of Orleans?" Like all great fashion, the hat is memorable as well as collectible.
The condition is almost excellent. There are a few tears in the net lining — see the bottom picture. They do not show when the hat is worn or displayed.
The headband has a circumference of 21".