Friday, 27 March 2015

The Evolution Of: Adolfo Sardina

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Does Adolfo of Emme or Adolfo Sardina sound familiar?Or was i the only one who wasn't aware of this fashion desginer's existence?The first time i heard his name was in the tv show "The Nanny"(1993-1997) when Fran compliments C.C.'s outfit and she says "Of course,darling,it's an Adolfo" (the best part was Niles' response "As in Hitler?").I always wondered since who this Adolfo was not only because she made him sound like he was a big deal in fashion, but also because i really loved her blue outfit.

The Nanny, Season 1,Episode 8 :"Personal business"

After a while, i was watching an interview of Eva Gabor on David Letterman's show from 1986 and at some point he asked her about her outfit.She said that her jacket was borrowed from Adolfo because she couldn't afford it.My curiosity increased because Eva only wore really expensive clothes.

Eva Gabor on David Letterman's show in 1986

So i did some research and this is what i found out.Adolfo Sardina was born in Cardenas,Cuba and after his mother died he was raised by his aunt and uncle in their elegant palacio.His aunt often traveled to Paris to be dressed by Chanel and Balenciaga and usually Adolfo went with her.In 1948 he emigrated to New York where he worked as an apprentice millinery designer for Bergodrff Goodman.His actual carerr in fashion started in 1951 when he moved to Paris to be an apprentice to Balenciaga.Soon he recieved many offers to go to New York because American buyers really appreciated his creativity.

Adolfo Sardina

He returned to New York where he created hats under the name of Adolfo of Emme and in 1955 won his first Coty Award.Although eveyone loved his hats and he was so good at creating them, he stated in an interview that he acutally never enjoyed making them.
Mary Jane Russell wearing a hat by Adolfo of Emme and jewellery by David Webb. Photo by Richard Rutledge for  Vogue, September 1955.
Mary Jane Russell for Vogue,September 1955 by Richard Rutledge (hat by Adolfo of Emme)
Evelyn Tripp in a suit and hat Sacony Adolfo of Emme, 1955
Evelyn Tripp,1955
'Remaking your Face' January 1957  For 6pm on and a dramatic underscoring of eyes and mouth; a look of allure. Eyes widened by pencil eyeliner, deepened by mascara and considerable brushwork. The mouth is drawn with a marked bow and a square underlip and the complexion is given a warm luminous glow. Black veil is by Adolfo of Emme.
January 1957
Suzy Parker in Irish green suit by Traina-Norell, hat by Adolfo of Emme, jewelry by Van Cleef & Arpels, cover photo by Richard Avedon, February 1957
Suzy Parker by Richard Avedon,1957
1957 Givenchy for Jantzen, Turban by Adolfo
Givenchy dress,Adolfo Turban,1957

Man Eating Hat by Adolfo of Emme. January 1957 Vogue.
Vogue,January 1957
Jessica Ford, February Vogue 1958    Jersey suit and the silk blouse by Ben Gershel and hat is by Adolfo of Emme.
Jessica Ford for Vogue,February 1958
February Vogue 1958 by Henry Clarke    Suit is by Seymour Fox in Anglo wool, a ribbon in the same fabric as the turban closes the suits collar. Turban is by Adolfo of Emme.
Vogue,February 1958
hat from 1958
Cone hat of black silk chiffon with chiffon veil swathed around the neck, 1959 by dovima_is_devine_II, via Flickr
"Cocktail hat with stiffened gauze visor by Adolfo of Emme,1959." #vintage #fashion #1950s #hat
1959. Model Sarah Thom. Hat by Adolfo of Emme. Photo by John French (B1907– D1966)
Sarah Tom by John French,1959
Jessica Ford - 1959 - Vogue US - Hat by Adolfo of Emme - Photo by Horst P. Horst (German-American, 1906-1999) - @~ Mlle
Vogue Us,Jessica Ford,1959
Sondra Peterson 1960.  Sondra is wearing a white organdie hair bow and matching overblouse, pinned at the collar with a Verdura jewel. The dress is from Jax and the bow is from Adolfo of Emme.
Sondra Peterson,1960
Vogue - October 1960    In this whimsical beauty shot, a model poses behind a spray of water droplets. She wears a black sequined cap by Adolfo of Emme and her makeup consists of heavy black eyeliner, pale blue eye shadow, and soft pink lipstick. Sending a steely gaze to photographer John Rawlings, the model gives this relatively stock image an air of intimacy.
Vogue,October 1960
1960 Model Anna Carin is wearing a little hat of black velvet and starched white organdie bows by Adolfo for Emme, photo by Jerry Schatzberg for Vogue Feb.
Anna Carin by Jerry Schatzberg for Vogue,February 1960
Adolfo 1960's silk chiffon sleeveless trapeze gown with heavily beaded and jewelled capelet style bodice. Adolfo Ardina began making couture privately in 1965, the Duchess of Windsor, Betsy Bloomingdale, and Nancy Reagan were loyal clients throughout his 25 year career. LOOOOOOVE!
Adolfo silk chiffon dress,60s
Sophia Loren - 1961 - Van Cleef & Arpels - Hat by Adolfo of Emme - Photo by Richard Avedon
Sophia Loren by Richard Avedon,1961

In 1962 Adolfo borrowed $10,000 dollars from his friend, the famous designer Bill Blass, and opened his own atelier.He had some innovating ideas like jersey visor caps, hats with removable googles and huge fur berets.His succes was so big that he paid his debt to Bill in only 6 months.He also started designing clothes and had famous clients like Nancy Reagen, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Gloria Vanderbilt and the Duchess of Windsor.

Adolfo Sardina Audrey white hat.
Audrey Hepburn
Wilhelmina in a violet vinyl coat by Modelia and hat by Adolfo, photo by Bert Stern 1965  #millinery #judithm #hats
Wilhelmina by Bert Stern,1965
Racing-inspired stripes on a wool coat by Originala. Adolfo made the jockey-like cap; scarf by Echo, and bracelets by Kenneth Jay Lane. That man has staying power. Photo from Vogue, January 1966.
Vogue,January 1966
Ensemble  Adolfo  Black chantilly lace, chiffon, satin ribbon, and crepe de chine  1967  USA
In 1969 he recieved his second Coty Award for his luxurious clothing and accessories designs.He had a passion for creating luxurious daywear, especially chic refined suits inspired by Chanel which he introduced in the early 70s.

Pink suit,1970

Adolfo, Vogue US - September 1973
Vogue Us,1973
Vogue Editorial New York Spring Collections, February 1974 ANNE HOLBROOK IN ADOLFO BY CHRIS VON WANGENHEIM
Anne Holbrook in Adolfo by Chris von Wangenhem for Vogue,1974

Adolfo held semiannual fashion shows held first at the St.Regis and later at the Plaza.The social elite was always looking forward to attending his show.

Nancy Reagan at her husband's innauguration in 1981

His fame increased when First Lady Nancy Reagan chose to wear ensembles by the designer at both of her husband's Presdential innaugurations.She said that his clothes are so beautifully made that they could be worn inside out.We believe her!

Nancy Reagan at her husband's innauguration in 1985

Although he was very famous and had success, in 1994 he decided to close his salon and focus on his licesing business.Everyone was shocked, especially his loyal famous clients and the press lamented his retirement.

Adolfo's home in New York,5th Avenue

In an interview from 1993, he said he wanted to make his life much easier by leaving the fashion scene, although that spring was his most successful one.He said that "It's better to close a business when you're doing well than out of sheer necessity."I admire his decision and it hink it's wonderful that he didn't create clothesjust for fame or recognition."They became like part of my family," he said. "I never socialized with them -- I don't go to parties -- but I did enjoy very much the confidence and trust and help they always gave me."(about his clients).

It's such a shame that nowadays people don't know who he was and have no idea of his valuable contribution to one of the most popular industries.In 2013 he was still living in New York.
images and informations via pinterest and google

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