Awakening the Senses: Adornment in Film Costumes by Adrian

Karen Randi Perlman
Fashion and Textile Studies: History, Theory, Museum Practice

About this Item

Title
Awakening the Senses: Adornment in Film Costumes by Adrian
Contributor Names
Perlman, Karen Randi (Author)
Font, Lourdes (Thesis advisor)
Fashion Institute of Technology, State University of New York. Fashion and Textile Studies: History, Theory, Museum Practice (Degree granting institution)
Date
2023
Degree Information
M.A. Fashion Institute of Technology, State University of New York, 2023
Department: Fashion and Textile Studies: History, Theory, Museum Practice
Advisors: Font, Lourdes
Committee members: Davidson, Hilary; Carlson, Brooke
Abstract
Hollywood films of the 1920s-40s included lavishly embellished costumes that reflected light from metallic embroidery, sequins and glass beads. The reflected light was augmented with feathers, fringes, and other adornments. These spectacular costumes were enhanced by headdresses and jewelry. The challenge of creating illusionary beauty was achieved by the costume designer, who imagined and executed his/her designs. In Hollywood history, there is a legendary film costume designer whose costumes are still marveled at today. He is Gilbert Adrian (1903-59) simply known as “Adrian,” who worked as the Head Costume Designer at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) from 1928 to 1941. Film scholars have credited Adrian as the most influential film costume designer, and the creator of the “Hollywood Glamour Look.” Adrian’s creations serve as cases-in-point to examine how adornment (i.e. embellishment, headwear and jewelry) augment the “embodiment” of film costumes (i.e. dress). Eighteen films from 1929 to 1941 were categorized into five groups: Reflected Light; Feathers and Fringes Abound; Modernism: Simplicity and Contrast; Hollywood’s Orientalism; and Masquerade and Musicals. The theoretical frameworks were phenomenology, Mei Mei Rado, Edward Said, and Anne Hollander among others to provide a different perspective on “embodiment.” The results Adrian achieved from his astute understanding of how fabrics and embellishments film in black-and-white are impressive. Adrian’s prolific career from film costume to fashion designer remains influential today.
Keywords: Adornment; Costume; Embellishment; Fashion; Films; Gilbert Adrian
Subject
Fashion
Film criticism
Hollywood (Los Angeles, Calif.)
History
Costume
Motion pictures
Adrian (Adrian, Gilbert A.), 1903-1959
Rights
In Copyright
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Identifier
FIT Repository ID: etd_000936
ISBN: 9798379503284
pqdiss: 30486681
Related Materials
Also available from ProQuest
Type
Text
Thesis
Language
English
Publisher
Ann Arbor : ProQuest Dissertations & Theses

Citation

Perlman, K. . R. (2023). Awakening the Senses: Adornment in Film Costumes by Adrian [Master's thesis, Fashion Institute of Technology, State University of New York]. FIT Institutional Repository. https://institutionalrepository.fitnyc.edu/item/120787
Perlman, Karen Randi. Awakening the Senses: Adornment in Film Costumes by Adrian. 2023. Fashion Institute of Technology, State University of New York, Master's thesis. FIT Digital Repository, https://institutionalrepository.fitnyc.edu/item/120787
Perlman, Karen Randi. "Awakening the Senses: Adornment in Film Costumes by Adrian." Master's thesis, Fashion Institute of Technology, State University of New York, 2023. https://institutionalrepository.fitnyc.edu/item/120787