MARIANO FORTUNY

1971 - 1949

Born in Spain, Fortuny was active in various fields, including painting and the design of clothes, stage sets, and lighting. In 1889, he moved to Venice, and in the following decade he started creating textiles and clothes on which motifs of the Middle Ages, the Renaissance and the Orient were stenciled in gold and silver. His works are thought to be one of the leitmotifs of Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past. Around 1907 he began to make the “Delphos”, a dress in the style of the ancient Greeks lapping delicately pleated Japanese and Chinese silk cloth.  The pleats hanging from the shoulders smoothly covered the whole body in a remarkably sensual manner, and the result was the creation of a brand new form.  The body-conscious forms that Fortuny invented prefigured 20th century fashion trends, and continue to exert their influence even now.

Fashion: The Collection of the Kyoto Costume Institute : a History from the 18th to the 20th Century