Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009; Gift of the estate of Mary Boocock Leavitt, 1974
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 as depicted in the classical statue "The Charioteer of Delphi." The unique rust color seen here gets its depth from repeated dye baths. The gown achieves its graceful draping with the help of strands of Venetian glass beads attached at the sides, which act as weights. The narrow pleats, a Fortuny hallmark, are gathered by hand and heat set. The exact process has never been completely duplicated.
Marking: Tape label: "Fortuny/Depose/Made in Italy"