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Design House Fortuny Italian
Designer Mariano Fortuny y Madrazo Spanish

Not on view

Fortuny created clothing that has a fluid relationship with the body, responsive to its form but also revealing its shape in the manner of intimate garments. Actresses and dancers, including Isadora Duncan, Ruth St. Denis, and Eleanora Duse, were among the first to wear his designs in public. These were women who felt free to deviate from the strict conventions of dress, such as rigid underpinnings that both reshaped and concealed the figure. When introduced in the first decade of the twentieth century, the loose form of Fortuny’s garments was regarded by most women as suitable only for informal at-home entertaining. However, trends in tea gowns represented the beginnings of a broader shift that would extend by the late 1920s to evening fashions worn in public settings, as social codes evolved and a more relaxed silhouette prevailed.

Jacket, Fortuny (Italian, founded 1906), silk, Italian

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© 2019 Nicholas Alan Cope L.2018.61.29a–c (dress) and L.2018.61.30 (jacket)