Fortuny – Dress Pleated in Felt

"Fortuny in Felt"


Fortuny pleats are crisp pleats set in silk fabrics by designer Mariano Fortuny in the early 20th century, using a secret pleat-setting process which is still not understood.

I enjoy playing with felt markers to make colorful designs and in re-visiting this image I visualize a long transparent veil frothing out and down her sides to just below the flower gathering.

Mario Fortuny 1871-1949 was a Spanish painter and inventor.  He designed scarves that paid homage to ancient Greece and Crete.  Later he experimented with pleating fabrics so that they draped over the female body. The minutely pleated silk was a secret process and the glorious colors were produced using vegetable dyes, a change from the crude aniline dyes that had been recently used.  (Fashion Era)

Describing the great aristocrat, the Duchess de Guermantes, Proust wrote: “Of all the indoor and outdoor gowns that Mme. de Guermantes wore, those which seemed most to respond to a definite intention, to be endowed with a special significance, were the garments made by Fortuny…Is it their historical character or the fact that each one is unique that gives them so special a significance that the pose of the woman wearing one while she waits for you to appear assumes an exceptional importance?”


Fortuny silk Delphos tea gown with original box, 1920’s

The pleating is so tight it hides the seams.

“…faithfully antique but powerfully original” is the way Marcel Proust described Fortuny.

Fortuny was a Renaissance man who stated: “Art is my life’s aim”.

Copyright © 2010 Nicole Rigets

Beautiful Collectible: Pure Alchemy

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