Greta Garbo as Queen Christina in 'Queen Christina' Designed by Gilbert Adrian


Two-piece period gown of beige velvet, fitted bodice with Eugene neckline, full-sleeves crocheted cuffs; matching skirt with slight train, heavily embroidered in a geometric tile motif of paste diamonds, emeralds, gold bullion and various other stones at collar, bodice front, sleeves, down front of skirt and around skirt hem, weighs approximately 60 pounds. Before purchase, the gown was restored for an exhibition at the Smithsonian Institute and the original silk pane velvet was replaced by a cotton velvet. The beadwork was applied to this new cotton velvet. Reproduced quatrefoil pendant with ruby stones and rhinestones created by Kathleen Lynagh.


Bibliographic Citation

"In a Glamorous Fashion," Robert LaVine, Charles Scribner's Sons, 1980, pg. 55-56 (photo).




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Additional Notes

Garbo had left Hollywood and returned to Sweden when she was coaxed back to play the role of the sometimes cross-dressing queen of Sweden and Adrian created magnificent and masculine raiment’s for his favorite star. Garbo had wanted to include more about the bisexuality of Queen Christina, but because of the codes of the time, much of that story line was cut from the film. But, when watching the film, Garbo and Adrian do manage to get some of her original intent into the film. The superb court gown, which is more like a suit of armor, displays this quality and there is little doubt that “something” is going on with her hand maiden.

A young Laurence Olivier was originally cast in the role of the Queen’s supposed “love interest” in the film, but Garbo had approval over casting, so she insisted that her old acting partner John Gilbert be given the role. Gilbert’s career had been suffering because of the addition of sound and his high voice and over the top acting style. There is no doubt that his film would probably have been improved with the addition of Laurence Olivier.

This gown, however beautiful, was a production nightmare. Garbo complained that the gown gave her a headache because of its weight (approx. 60 lbs.) and heat. The light that was reflected from the embroidery caused problems with the lighting and the sound of the gown dragging across the floor made it impossible for anyone to speak while Garbo walked. The studio, no doubt complained because of the cost. But it was for Garbo.

The fashions created for Queen Christian created a sensation at the time and were toured as part of the promotion for the film. Garbo did a large number of “fashion publicity stills” in the majority of the costumes in the film, except for the court gown, which again, may have been for her dislike of the gown.

It was rented by Mrs. Wilson Jones around 1935 and appeared at costume party with Star Edmund Lowe at the Coconut Grove in Hollywood at charity event given by The Twenty Little Working Girls. Photo appeared in January 1935 edition of Hollywood magazine, Photoplay.



“Greta Garbo as Queen Christina in 'Queen Christina' Designed by Gilbert Adrian,” Film Costume Collection, accessed June 18, 2024,

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