The curators of the exhibition "Fortune: The Spaniard in Venice" managed to collect over 100 items of clothing. Most of them are taken from the archives of the Palais Galliera, as well as from the Museo del Traje in Madrid and the Venetian Museo Fortuny… The basis of the retrospective of Mariano Fortuny y Madrazo (1871-1949) is his famous "Delphos", created in 1909. These long, straight-cut dresses of fine silk with fine pleats - fashion historians still cannot understand how he achieved this effect - resembled antique columns. Delphos did not have corsets or accentuated waist, but at the same time they perfectly kept their shape and showed the beauty of the female body. To maintain pleating, the dresses were kept rolled up like skeins of yarn, and silk cords with Murano glass beads were sewn around the sides and around the holes for the arms and head. The exhibition also included a velvet coat with Renaissance embroidery.
Model in Delphos dress, c. 1920 © Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia / Museo Fortuny
Delphos Dresses, 1919-1920 (left) and 1940s (right) © Stéphane Piera / Galliera / Roger-Viollet; Françoise Cochennec / Galliera / Roger-Viollet
Delphos dress and coat, approx. 1919-1920 © Stéphane Piera / Galliera / Roger-Viollet
Until the beginning of the 20th century, Fortuny was engaged in painting and architecture, worked as a decorator (he was born into an artist's family in Granada, and after the death of his father, the family moved to Venice). It wasn't until 1906 that Mariano turned to fabrics. His first experience in fashion was the so-called "Knossos scarves" - wide silk scarves with prints, which Fortuny was inspired by ornaments from the ancient Greek vases of the Minoan period.
Eleonora dress, approx. 1912 © Stéphane Piera / Galliera / Roger-Viollet
Coat, approx. 1920 © Stéphane Piera / Galliera / Roger-Viollet
Fortune's clients were Countess Graffuele and her daughter, Gloria Vanderbilt, Isadora Duncan, British actress, the main performer of the female roles in Shakespeare's plays Ellen Terry. Fortuny's fame was greatly facilitated by Marcel Proust, who considered the couturier an outstanding master: in the novel In Search of Lost Time, his dresses are worn (or dream of wearing) by the Duchess of Guermantes, Albertina and others.
The exhibition "Fortuny: The Spaniard in Venice" runs until January 7, 2018.>