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16 August 2009

Adrian's Loving Hands at Work and at Home

What just appeared in my inbox but these photos of the chinoiserie awnings of Adrian's dress shop made by Adrian himself!

A big thank you to Hutton Wilkinson who first told me about the awnings. He was kind enough to send us these photos after our conversation about Adrian's monkey house....

the roof of which is alive and well in Santa Barbara, and definitely looks like it's also by Adrian's own hand.

The shop was located at 15 Olvera Street in Los Angeles, which now stocks burritos instead of bolero jackets.

Below is an excerpt from a 1931 article in which journalist Harriet Parsons trailed the ever elusive Greta Garbo for a day, which included a stop to her favorite dressmaker....

"Garbo and Feyder slip through a side door into Adrian's Shop, next door. Adrian is the costume designer at M-G-M and I begin to feel scared – scared that my prey will slip away from me through some underground passage sacred to ladies of mystery.

"But I go around in front of the shop and paste my nose against the glass of the door. Inside I see Garbo going from one object to another in the small shop, animatedly. She is gay and interested. Suddenly she spies a huge, fantastic monkey with a body of white fur and a comic red corduroy face. She stands delightedly while Adrian shows her how the arms and legs move. She is as pleased as a child.

"Meantime, a crowd has collected outside the patio. With that genius peculiar to crowds, they have sensed a celebrity near-by – their greatest celebrity. But Garbo lingers in the shop until they have all gone except me. It is eleven when suddenly, much to my relief, Adrian, Garbo and Feyder come out and stroll up and down the street. Adrian is showing her the sights of the minature village."

Click here to read more from www.garboforever.com

P.S. Did you know that Hutton has a new book coming out on Tony Duquette this fall?! I just found out and have already pre-ordered my copy here. "More is More" is right.

9 comments:

home before dark said...

Yes, you can tell a book by its cover. Yummy!

little augury said...

I love that you got this saucy photograph of Adrian's Burrito Boutique- Does an original photograph survive? And what can you say about Garbo- she could really work a sofa. I always love your solid facts with a smidgen of whimsy. la

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Ah gee, I want my own dressmaker! How perfect that would be!

And I adore the title of the new book on Duquette! My philosophy exactly.

Shandell's said...

Looking forward to a glass of wine with this new book.

Emily Evans Eerdmans said...

Home, Pamela and Shandell's - "More is More" will certainly be something to savor.

la, I wasn't able to find any archival photos of the Olvera Street facade - perhaps if one was able to scour old Photoplay magazines or some such....

Hutton sent me this note about the Olvera Street area:
IN THE 30'S AND 40'S IT WAS A MAGIC PLACE WITH RESTAURANTS PATRONIZED BY VERY RICH AND FASHIONABLE ANGELENOS... BUT NOW IT IS A TOURIST TRAP AND BARELY THAT... VERY DOWN AT THE HEELS...

Apparently there was also a very chic puppet theater, Teatro Torrito, next door that was all the rage - which is where Garbo went before stopping in at Adrian's...

magnaverde said...

It would be nice if this were still a tony area, but even is its current scruffy state, it's cool that such little echoes of its former life still survive. I doubt that the current tenants know anything of their place's history--or that they care if they do know.

It reminds me of the time I was coming into Penn Station on the Lake Shore Limited from Chicago, and there, down at track level, lost amid all the stainless steel & plastic & painted concrete & industrial lighting, I spotted a small section of classically detailed bronze railing from old Penn Station. That's the only thing it could have been. How did this elegant remnant survive the carnage that sent everything else to a landfill? Small miracles.

Emily Evans Eerdmans said...

Bart, you remind me of my first trip to an architectural salvage yard on 125th street - huge winged sphinxes that embellished a bridge, chandeliers from the Vanderbilt hotel - truly glorious treasures that time had forgotten...but luckily hadn't destroyed. EEE

Snikdar said...

Adrian's shop on Olvera street was not a dress store, but an antiques and interior design store. I have never been able to find an exterior photo, but I did find an advertisement for the shop in a Theatre magazine from the time in Los Angeles. You have to be somewhat careful about the addresses on Olvera Street as they have changed since the restored street was opened in 1931. Adrian also frequented the Yale Puppeteers theatre both there on Olvera Street and later when the Yale founders opened the Turnabout Theatre on La Cienega.
Lovely to see the photos - I will have to go back again and see the awnings (a good reason to go to La Golondrina, too!)

Snikdar said...

Actually, Adrian's Olvera Street shop was not a dress shop, but an antiques and interior decoration store. Also you have to be careful with Olvera Street addresses as they have significantly changed since the orginal opening of the street in 1931. Adrian's store was near the Yale Puppeteers theatre (El Teatro) and Adrian was friends with the founders Forman Brown and Harry Burnette and was a patron with Janet Gaynor at their next theatre, the Turnabout Theatre on La Cienega. I have an ad for Adrian's Olvera Street store, but not an interior shot, nor was I aware these awnings were his design. His first interior design shop was on Highland near Camrose.
Now I get to go to Olvera Street again to seek out the awnings (and have a margarita at La Golondrina!)