Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009; Gift of Covington Hardee, 1976
Not on view
Spanish-born artist and designer Mariano Fortuny was active in Italy, where he established a textile workshop and a commercial silk printing factory--a version of which is still in operation today. Best known for his beautiful textiles and unstructured garments, Fortuny continually referenced historical and non-Western sources, reviving and creating complex fabric treatments and dye techniques.
Working in the early 20th century, Fortuny's gowns were especially popular among avant garde women of '20s and '30s who were seeking both freedom of movement and a hint of exoticism in their wardrobe. The Delphos, Fortuny's signature gown, is a column of finely pleated fabric that draws its shape from the Greek chiton, particularly in the classical work "The Charioteer of Delphi." Available in varying lengths, the gown could be worn with or without the gold-stenciled satin belt. The long, shaped sleeves here are a notably atypical feature. Repeated dye baths give the unusual peach color its incandescence and the pleats are hand-gathered and heat set (the exact process has only been approximated). Strands of Venetian glass beads attached at the sides add heft to the silk and enhance the silhouette.
Marking: Label: "Made in Italy/Fabriqué en Italie/Fortuny/Depose"