We Moved!

We Moved! We Moved! We Moved!

Please reset your bookmarks and follow the new blog:


Fortuny anyone?

I took what you see below directly from eBay listing of this amazing Fortuny gown.
I am so tempted to buy this for Shrimpton Couture! I have mixed feelings about making these kind of purchases though - things like this of this quality should be in a museum and properly stored and cared for. If you are interested in this please remember that these items are pieces of history and should be treated accordingly. Really unless you are a serious collector and have the set-up to required for something like this - it should be bought by a museum.

The fact is though that these do not come up often.
I love that this has the original box.
Did you know that these where all sold in these boxes and that the boxes where sized to fit on the top shelve of those big travel trunks? You could fit a enough of these boxes in those shelves of the big travel trunks to have a weeks worth of gowns to wear when traveling overseas. They where made to roll and fit into the box and then just be taken out and shaken and worn.
Isn't that amazing?

This rare exemplary gown by Mariano Fortuny has never been worn and is considered pristine and museum quality. It is still in it's original box. It represents everything Mariano Fortuny is famous for in his designs. It has been stored for almost 100 years in the box and still folds out perfectly ready to wear. The gown is a rusty cranberry with a multitude of buttons down each side and at the shoulders. The long sash is the classic Fortuny fabric in the same cranberry and silver. The original box is almost perfect with one hairline on the rim of the lid. This dress is the finest and rarest piece of clothing I've ever seen and offered.


In 1871, Mariano Fortuny y Madrazo was born in Granada, Spain. His early childhood was divided between Rome, where his father had a studio and Capricio near Naples. After his father's death in 1874, his family left for Paris to join their uncle. His father and grandfather were both celebrated artists. Mariano inherited artistic skills and also worked in printing, drawing and chemistry. His mother was a Spanish beauty whose wealth had endowed the famous Prado Museum in Madrid, Spain.

Mariano studied painting until the age of 18, and was then introduced to Parisian society. After a while, his mother moved the family to Venice. He bought a palazzo and turned it into an enormous studio. Mariano produced both easel paintings and frescoes, was a print-maker and sculptor. In 1897, he was awarded the gold medal at the Munich International Festival of Art for his painting The Flower Girls. He exhibited his paintings every year at the Venice Biennale until his death.

He was also a set designer, an inventor of reflected-lighting systems, a furniture make and a photographer. More than 10,000 negatives are stored in the Fortuny Museum in Venice. In 1906 Fortuny designed a theatre for Comtesse Bearn the Parisian music patron.

Fortuny fell in love with Henriette Negin, a model whom he met in 1895. His mother did not approve of her, but she lived with him for 47 happy years, eventually marrying him and was a widow for 15 years more.

Only at the age of 40, did Fortuny decide to throw himself into fashion design. He was never really a couturier, he did not present annual or even seasonal collections. He set out to find his own version of a timeless ideal form. The simplicity of his designs was astonishing for the period, they were cut out flat in one piece rather like a Japanese kimono.

1906 was also the year he introduced his first garment, a long sheer silk rectangle which he called the Knossos scarf based on the ancient Cretan civilisation. These scarves opened a new avenue for him.

In 1907 Fortuny produced the first DELPHOS gown. It was a column of pleated silk based on chitons worn by ancient Greek maidens in statues. Early Delphos gowns had bat-wing sleeves, later versions had a scarf attached to the shoulders, falling to the hips. The pleating of the material for these dresses was achieved by a process of evaporation, the wet and folded silk being laid on heated porcelain tubes, permanently fixing such tight pleats in the material that the dresses looked carved or pressed. The effect made a women look elongated when she wore them.

In 1909 Fortuny opened his own salon on rue Marignan selling not only his pleated silk and velvet gowns, but also cushion covers, wall hangings, lampshades, etc. In 1912, he showed his textiles in the Spanish pavilion at the International Exhibition of Decorative Arts in Paris.


Fortuny's important contribution to fashion was his method of pleating. Pleats were formed by hand and experts say the pleats were held in place with tacking stitches and then set with heat while the fabric was damp.

His pleated dresses were unique, he never made two the same. Almost all the museums of costume throughout the world have a Fortuny pleated gown as a precious exhibit.

In the twenties, Fortuny made sleeveless Delphos and Peplos gowns. He used ribbed gauze dyed in muted shades for long vests, jackets with side slits and long bat-wing tunics. He also used a thin supple velvet to make medieval tabard gowns, Persian style jackets, Moorish capes and Empire-waisted Directoire gowns.

In 1923 His garments were exhibited in galleries in London, and sold at the brick shop, London. In 1929 Elsie McNeill Lee (later Contessa Gozzi) opened a Fortuny store. Till recently, she sold his fabrics and dresses, and she alone mixed dyes and treats fabrics.

In 1933 after financial problems, Gozzi bought Fortuny's business and turned it around, making it an international success. His sales continued intermittently until 1938 when he was nearing 70. He tried to use mediocre Italian fabrics, but had to fall back on his stock of Japanese silks to maintain the quality he desired.

His salon had fewer and fewer clients, although he was still very much appreciated by those who knew his work. In 1949, Orson Welles used 3 of Fortuny's coats in his film "Othello".

In 1949 Mariano Fortuny died. One boutique remained open until the death of Henriette Fortuny in 1965.

Select a picture


WendyB said...

Still in the original box? WOW!

Anonymous said...

Description completely lifted wholesale from http://www.histryofashion.com/

Tut tut!

Shrimpton Couture said...


You are right! Thanks for letting us all know that. As you can see in my post I took the listing in the entirety form the actual eBay posting of the seller. They really should have let people know that it was a verbatim piece.

The dress sold for $15,100 BTW just in case any one was interested and NO I did not buy it LOL

Anonymous said...

I did! It's beautiful and came with quite a history.

Shrimpton Couture said...

Lucky girl! (or guy I guess) do a write up and share it with my readers if you like! I bet you have a great collection too! Share!

Anonymous said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

ModernFurnitureWarehouse.com is a one-stop shop when it comes to living room sets. You can find any furniture ranging from classic to contemporary designs from all over the world. If you are looking for sectional sofas, loveseats and sleeper sofas, they are all here.


wholesale furniture

Web Analytics