Categories: Arts, Naugatuck, Popular Culture, Who Knew?

There’s No Place Like Home for the Designer of Dorothy’s Ruby Slippers – Who Knew?

Dorothy’s Ruby Slippers, 1939, designed by Adrian – National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center

…that Connecticut-born Adrian, the American clothing designer known best for creating costumes showcased in hundreds of movies, also designed Dorothy’s ruby slippers for The Wizard of Oz.

Born in Naugatuck in 1903, Adrian Adolph Greenburg grew up surrounded by fabric, ribbon, accessories, and hats in his family’s millinery shop. Inspired to study fashion, he went off to Paris in the fall of 1922 where musical theater composer Irving Berlin discovered his work and asked him to design costumes for his Music Box Revue on Broadway. Natacha Rambova, the wife and manager of silent screen idol Rudolph Valentino, took notice of Adrian’s theatrical costumes and offered him a job in Hollywood. By the late 1920s Adrian was the chief designer for MGM, dressing many of the leading actresses of the time, including such stars as Greta Garbo, Joan Crawford, Norma Shearer, and fellow Connecticut natives Rosalind Russell and Katharine Hepburn. In 1939 Adrian supervised the design of hundreds of costumes for The Wizard of Oz, including the famous slippers. The ruby color was Adrian’s design decision for the relatively new Technicolor screen—the original color in the books being silver. The ruby slippers are currently held in the collections of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.

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