Mariano Fortuny (Italian, born Spain, 18711949)
Pale–blue pleated silk; L. at center back 38 in. (96.5 cm)
Gift of Mrs. Anthony Wilson, 1979 (1979.344.11a,b)
Mariano Fortuny created a number of variations of his pleated silk gowns. In this model, he combined elements of the classical chiton and the peplos. A "tunic" is attached along its neckline to a long sleeveless underdress, suggesting the apoptygma of the classical peplos. This effect is further emphasized by the handkerchief points at either hip, which would have been seen on the sides of an authentic apoptygma. In the ancient Grecian peplos, the arm openings were positioned along the neckline edge rather than the sideseam edges. This resulted in a dipping hemline at either side of the garment when worn. Fortuny took this structural attribute and achieved the similar, purely decorative effect by cutting away at the tunic's front and back hem. Further, he interpreted the buttoned or pinned closings characteristic of a chiton's shoulder seams by connecting the topline seam of the tunic's sleeves with Venetian glass beads interlaced with silk "rat tail" cording. Fortuny was noted for his antiquarian intentions and scholarly treatment of classical dress, yet in the end, he invented rather than replicated a Hellenic style.