dress by Adrian

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Adrian - Dress - Hand-painted rayon crepe - Circa 1944, USA - Gift of Lola L. Walker

Animal motifs were a recurring element of Adrian’s design aesthetic. The designer, also known for his skill as a painter, chose the artisanal technique of hand-painting to create a vivid aquatic scene for this dress. This method of applying color produces less liquid dye waste—appropriate for this homage to the natural world.

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Bob - Pumps - Red alligator skin - Circa 1946, USA - Gift of Mrs. Henry Rose

A "New York Creation" label establishes that this hat is from the New York Dress Institute, which produced high-quality, locally-made accessories as well as clothing. While felt hats were a fashion mainstay, accessories created from alligator skin were considered "exotic." Alligator bags were not new, but designers often utilized the whole animal in the 1930s, a trend that seems barbarous today. Although similarly fashioned from alligator, the pumps demonstrate a more traditional use of the material.