American Beauty

At the Costume Institute of New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art

In 1928, a brilliant and canny 25-year-old Easterner named simply Adrian became chief costume designer for MGM Studios, and scores of glamorous ensembles followed, highlighted by Greta Garbo's spectacular array of gowns and headgear in Mata Hari, Jean Harlow's slinky satin things, and the iconic, broad-shouldered power suits of Joan Crawford. (Adrian could produce up to 75 sketches like the one at left in a day.) The designer left MGM in 1941 to open his own salon in Beverly Hills, saying, "When the glamour goes for Garbo, it goes for me as well." Adrian: American Glamour opens May 14 at the Costume Institute of New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art.