The Heritage Studio

Inspired by Mariano Fortuny’s eclectic work: the Delphos

By Sissi Macchetto

” I hear that a Venetian artist, called Fortuny, has rediscovered the secret of the craft, and that in a few years time women will be able to parade around , and better still to sit at home, in brocades as sumptuous as those that Venice adorned for her patrician daughters with patterns brought from the Orient” Marcel Proust, the Prisoner

delphos_the_impossible_wardrobeThe Story of Mariano Fortuny and the Delphoscloseup_delphos_dresses

Settings: Venice, beginning of the XX century

Leading figure: From design to visual art, the life of Spanish designer and painter Mariano Fortuny has been surrounded by a wagnerian sound track made of timeless clothing, fabrics and light. Born in Granada, after completing his studies in Paris, at the age of 18, he moved to Venice where he spent most of his life in a Gothic palace owned by the Pesaro family and transformed  into his own atelier of photography, stage design, textile-design and painting.  Donated on 1964 by his wife Henriette to the city of Venice, the building retains the rooms and structures created by Fortuny, together with tapestries, paintings and the famous lamps – all objects that testify his eclectic work and his presence on the intellectual and artistic scene at the turn of the 19th century.

Plot: The Delphos gown, the pleated dress ever, was conceived by Fortuny and his future wife Henriette in 1907, after a long time spent studying archaic Greek statues. Inspired by the dress worn by the Greek korai , the pleated silk column-shaped gown was conceived as a house dress without corset. Some models were finished off with the kolpos, an ancient Greece-inspired belt decorated with Murano glass beadwork, and with small woven strings inserted in the sleeves to enhance the shape of the shoulders. The relatively simple shape was balanced by the choice of extremely polished fabrics, such as silks and voile, satin and taffeta. Given its form free yet elaborated design the Delphos represented a radical innovation in fashion and soon became synonym of liberalization. Avant garde women the likes of Isadora Duncan, Eleonora Duse and Sarah Bernhardt began wearing it also outside their houses. Celebrated in 2012 in NYC at the Spanish Institute, in Venice at Fortuny in Giudecca with an exhibition conceived by Oscar de La Renta and at “Palais de Tokyo during the performance ‘The impossible Wardrobe” Fortuny ‘s  creations embody his vision of art as a whole,  bringing together music, visual and theatrical performance.

Gloria Vanderbilt photographed for Vogue by Avedon wearing Fortuny dresses from her collection (Vogue 1969)


Photos via Pinterest

To know more : Fortuny and Museum Fortuny

Original Delphos dresses can be found on 1stdibs

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