Tuesday, March 2, 2010

My Fortuny

Mariano Fortuny was a true Renaissance man, working as a painter, sculptor, architect and inventor - but my interest is in his innovations in fashion.

In 1907, he introduced the Delphos gown, inspired by Greek sculpture. At a time when fashion insisted on a rigid silhouette, Fortuny and his Delphos gown revolutionized high style, by emphasizing the natural shape and movement of a woman's body.

He used finely pleated silks and stenciled velvets, all produced in his factories. His garments were all constructed by hand - works of art for those willing to flout convention.

I have long wanted to create my own Fortuny, and after many years, I've made my attempt. The biggest problem was the fabrics - where to find them!

I first found the pleated silk, unfortunately in one of my least favorite colors - purple. The pleating is not anywhere near the perfection of Fortuny's, but it does have the depth of color and light changeability, so into my stash it went.

I next found the stenciled velvet and it was a perfect complement to the pleated silk:

So it was time to get serious, now that I had the two essential fabrics. Here are my inspiration gowns:

I designed my version as two pieces, the pleated undergown and a separate velvet overgown, for maximum versatility.

Both pieces were sewn entirely by hand (and finished mere hours before needed ). I chose to use beads instead of cording on the sides and sleeves, after all beads are my thing. The undergown turned out to be a bit more sheer than I was comfortable wearing in public, luckily I have a gold underslip, unfortunately, three layers adds bulk that my figure does not need - I'll need to work on this for future wearings, as well as removing some of the excess fabric from the undergown. The length is correct for me, but too long for my dress form, Matilda.

Overall, I consider it a success, and a bit of additional tweaking will only add the look.

Tell me what you think - how can it be improved?

1 comment:

  1. I like it but can see what you mean about the sheerness of the silk. Would it be possible to add inside side panels of more silk instead of the slip? That would only be adding width bulk instead of all-over? but wearing a slip was common until the 60's or later?