The Women (1939)

1930s Fashion Film History The Women

Copyright © 1939 Warner Bros

Gilbert Adrian was the head costume designer for Metro Goldwyn Mayer in the 1930s and 1940s most famed for his evening gowns, brought to the forefront by this film in abundance. The film, which features not one male actor in its entirety, centres on female Manhattan socialites, so the fashion is an important part of the production.

Adrian also designed the gowns for a short fashion show the women visit in this film, the only part of the movie that is shot in colour, which prompted people to liken his designs to those of Elsa Schiaparelli, the rival of Coco Chanel. Adrian was all about the glamour, which was perfect for this film, which to put into context is like the olden day Sex and the City.

Having worked most of his career with the glamorous ladies of Hollywood, Adrian said “It was because of Greta Garbo that I left M-G-M. In her last picture they wanted to make her a sweater girl, a real American type. I said, “When the glamour ends for Garbo, it also ends for me. She has created a type. If you destroy that illusion, you destroy her. When Garbo walked out of the studio, glamour went with her, and so did I”.


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Written by Jemma De Blanche

Jemma De Blanche is a fashion and lifestyle journalist with a background in marketing and copy-writing, is in awe of all things creative and loves getting lost in a good book, a beautiful picture or the creativity of new collection. Jemma handles the Fashion in Film pages and the Men's catwalk reviews.

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