c 1945 Adrian Original Couture Black & Metallic Gold Silk Skirt & Top Dress Set
Voguepedia says of Gilbert Adrian: "In the hands of the legendary Hollywood designer Gilbert Adrian, clothes could do and say magical things. From the flower-festooned munchkin costumes in The Wizard of Oz to the elegance-defining “Gowns by Adrian” worn by screen stars like Norma Shearer, Barbara Stanwyck, and Joan Crawford—and copied by the hundreds of thousands for the humbler masses—Adrian was the definition of cinematic invention for more than a decade.....Adrian’s signature custom-retail label, founded in 1942, was wildly popular. His gowns bore distinctive names like “Dinner with a Dash of Gold” and “Shades of Picasso,” and he catered to an elite set of style mavens in Hollywood."
After some extensive research I believe this gown is from from Gilbert Adrian's 1945 collection. It was sold to my client and dated as being from a few seasons later, but I feel that the advertisement that I found is too much of a coincidence with its similar feeling pattern worked through the design. The gown is absolutely outstanding and in a world where Adrian Gilbert pieces are already rare, this particular gown is even more special, even if you simply based it on how utterly beautiful it is. It is made of a stunning black silk that has a metallic lame thread woven through it to create the design work that you see. The metallic parts are done in a gold mixed with a bright, true green and a deeper olive. The addition of the metal thread gives the entire ensemble a subtle glow. The fabric has a good weight to it that helps it to hold the shape and also adds to it rich and luxurious feel. This is fabric that you would simply not be able to even have made anymore. The Grecian inspired pattern is woven through the entire fabric. The addition of this metallic thread highlights the design that runs all the way around the skirt and the top. The top is a simple halter bodice with straps that curve up and around the shoulders. It curves in towards the waist through vertical seaming and is cut to end exactly on top of where the skirt flares out. Once on it gives the illusion of a true gown. The top is entirely finished with the metallic thread, allowing us to see the full beauty of it. The skirt sits under this and the upper portion of the waist is fitted and set high so that it creates no break or lines when it is worn under the top. From under that, a magnificent ball gown skirt cascades to the floor in a sweep of silk. The construction of this is wonderful and it is gathered all the way around the dropped hip seam and set into that seam with a series of tiny, perfectly spaced knife pleats that open up to the fullness you see. I styled this over a light, full length crinoline to really give it the proper shape it would have had been meant to be worn as when it was made. The shape that this creates is amazing. The dress is entirely hand made to Haute Couture standards. This is a rare opportunity to own an original Gilbert Adrian that is not only in wonderful condition but is also heart breakingly beautiful and still to this day, feels modern and wearable. Excellent condition.
Both piece are unlined with hand finished inner seams and the inner construction is done to Couture standards. The skirt closes with a painted metal zipper and hook & eye on the inner waist band. The top closes with a back painted metal zipper. The skirt was photoed over a full length crinoline that is not included. I have included detail photos of both the fabric and the inner hand done seams. The top looks like it has been out along the side seams from the waist up on both sides and one seam on the fitted part of the inner top skirt was also opened at some point. The work is well done and it could easily be made smaller again if needed.
Bust: 17.5" flat across from side seam to side seam
Waist: 13" flat across from side seam to side seam
Hips: 19" flat across from side seam to side seam
Length: 25" from shoulder to hem
Waist: 13" flat across from side seam to side seam
Hips at lower seam of skirt: 18.5" flat across from side seam to side seam
Length: 44" from waist to hem with a 3.5" hem turned up
Modern Sizing Equivalent: SML-MED
Reference Photo: Gown by Gilbert Adrian, available at the William H. Block Co., Indianapolis, 1945.
This garment has been professionally cleaned, pressed and is odor free. Thoroughly checked over before shipping, it will be ready to wear upon arrival.
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