Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Homage à Fortuny

Mariano Fortuny: A Spaniard in Venise

Long before Madame Gres made her first hand pleated gown, before Issey Miyake perfected the technique of permanent pleated garments he renamed, “Pleats Please,” there was Mariano Fortuny and his pleated dresses.

With over a hundred items on display, "Mariano Fortuny: Un Espagnol a Venice" currently hosted by the Palais Galliera (The City of Paris Fashion & Textile Museum) through January 7, 2018, provides a glimpse of the work by iconic designer,  Mariano Fortuny. More of a textile designer than one dedicated to creating new silhouettes, Fortuny grew up exposed to the world of art. The son of a painter who moved his family to Venice in 1888, it was there in Italy where Mariano became infatuated with fabric.

In 1906 he turned his attention to printed fabrics. He reinterpreted the styles and motifs of Ancient Greece, the Middle Ages and the Renaisance and created his own timeless, unwaisted pieces with soft, straight hanging lines. Fortuny would turn every fabric into a uniquely magnificient piece with subtle reflection of light.

And while he made quite a name for himself designed extravagant motifs pressed into velvet which were later cut into cloaks, dresses and tunics, Fortuny is best known for his pleated silks…an innovation for which he had a patent.

With these pleated silks, Fortuny created simple, loose dresses inspired by Ancient Grecian styles, called “Delphos.”

These garments liberated women from corsets that strangled the body. Designed in 1909, it was the quintessential illustration of originality and inventiveness.

Made entirely from plain silk it is so finely pleated, it can be rolled into a ball and still maintains all its flowing lines when unrolled.

Each dress, top or skirt, in fact, came in boxes where they were stored in between each wearing.

Put together in conjunction with the Museo del Traje in Madrid and the Museo Fortuny in Venice, most of the dresses on display at the Palais Galliera are made of solid silk in neutral tones or white cotton.

However, Fortuny also created dresses in an array of colors and, on occasion, in soft prints.
And while the Delphos dress didn't come in a vast array of styles, Fortuny's dresses were quickly snapped up by socialites and other chic ladies around the globe.

At the very end of the exhibit , visitors are transported into current times with a glimpse of how modern day designers have been inspired by Fortuny’s pleated wonders.

With the holidays just around the corner, the Fortuny dress is a quick and easy way to make an elegant gown for your girls. There are two ways to get the look. The easiest, of course, is to find pleated fabric or scarves like this blue dress modeled by Morgan.

The pre-pleated fabric will give you the closest look to the original dresses as you can see with the dress I also made for Waris from a pleated cotton floral scarf.
Most of the time it is difficult to find pleated fabric--pleated silk in particular--so I will refer you  “Twist and Shout” a tutorial on how to create your own “pleated fabric.” Brie’s dress is made from silk satin using this technique.

Mariano Fortuny: Un Espagnol a Venice
Palais Galliera
10 ave Pierre 1er de Serbie
75016 Paris
Metro: Iéna
Admission 10 Euros
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  1. A fascinating exhibition! The creations are just brilliant. Your models look fabulous, so chic and stylish, and I love the dark cape in combination with the soft pink dress.

    1. Thank you M&F. I, too like the contest of those two colors. Looking at these sorts of exhibitions gives me all sorts of new ideas.

  2. I am very impressedby the beauty of these dresses.
    Your models look beautifully.

    1. Thank you Dlubaniny. This was a lovely exhibition. I have heard about these special dresses for a long time and it was a treat seeing them in person.

  3. Great exhibition. I'd like to see it someday. Your versions of dresses are fabulous! Pink dress with black cape is my number one!

    1. Thank you Kamelia. Yes that pink dress with the cape is my favorite as well. Glad you enjoyed this post.

  4. So beautiful creations for beautiful little ladies. :-)

    1. Thank you Aya. Stay tuned as there is much more to come. Paris has lots to see right now!

  5. Wow very beautiful . Your dolls are so lucky <3 Hugs

    1. Thank you Urszula. Yes my dolls are very lucky I spoil them so much. It is probably the reason new ones keep showing up on my doorstep! Big hugs!!!

  6. As always your creations are stunning!

    1. Thank you Chris. Glad you enjoyed this post. Big hugs.


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