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Fortuny Lighting

Italian

Spanish fashion designer Mariano Fortuny was a true artist who worked with beautiful fabrics as his medium of choice. Although he showed talent in painting, sculpting, photography and architecture at an early age, fashion was where he really shined.

Fortuny was an innovator in the world of textile design, he drew on classical Greek tunics for his rich and interesting garments and worked with a revolutionary system for creating pleats. He designed a range of clothing for his couture house, and today, vintage Fortuny evening gowns, gemstone-colored day dressescoats and accessories like drawstring bags are known for their fine craftsmanship and signature elegance.

Fortuny was born Mariano Fortuny y Madrazo in 1871 in Granada, into a family of artists. His father died when Fortuny was only three years old, and his mother moved the family to Paris. As a child, Fortuny was fond of experimenting and figuring out how things worked. He even dyed pieces of fabric from his family's textile collection, which had been amassed from shops around Europe.

In 1889, the family moved again, this time to Venice. Here, Fortuny found inspiration in the past, which would influence his future designs. Not long after, the young Fortuny set off to travel the continent. In 1897, he visited Paris and fell in love with a dressmaker named Henriette Negrin. She became his muse, his wife and his creative partner — Negrin worked with Fortuny on clothing designs and fabrics — and the two settled in the French capital.

A lifelong inventor, Fortuny began patenting his creations in 1901. By 1934, he had registered more than 20 patents. At the same time, his fashion career was taking off.

In 1907, he designed the Delphos gown with Negrin, which French novelist and essayist Marcel Proust described as "faithfully antique but markedly original." Fortuny had worked from his home until 1922 when increased demand required large-scale production. He opened a factory in Venice, where due to the scarcity of silk, he began experimenting with cotton. 

In 1927, New York interior designer Elsie McNeill traveled to Paris to meet Fortuny and became his exclusive American distributor. She returned to the United States and introduced Fortuny's designs to New World audiences. Shops opened in Paris, New York and London. Toward the end of the 1930s, Fortuny returned to painting and stepped away from the busy fashion industry.

After Fortuny passed away in 1949, McNeill took over the label and continued running it until 1988, when it was purchased by the Riad family, who remain at the helm of Fortuny today.

On 1stDibs, find vintage Fortuny clothing and accessories.

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Creator: Fortuny
Vintage Venetian Silk Fortuny Hanging Light/ Chandelier
By Fortuny
Located in East Hampton, NY
Mariano Fortuny y Madrazo (Italian, 1871-1949), 20th century. A large exquisitely stenciled Fortuny silk shade that has been hand stretched over a wire frame. Multiple braided cords...
Category

Late 20th Century Italian Fortuny Lighting

Materials

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Studio Venetia floor lamp in silk, amber, bronze and fabric c 1970 by Fortuny.
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Incredible floor lamp by STUDIO VENETIA by FORTUNY in silk, bronze, amber and fabric circa 1970.
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Fortuny lighting for sale on 1stDibs.

Fortuny lighting are available for sale on 1stDibs. These distinctive items are frequently made of silk and are designed with extraordinary care. Many of the original lighting by Fortuny were created in the mid-century modern style in italy during the 1970s. If you’re looking for additional options, many customers also consider lighting by Claudio Salocchi, Fabio Lenci, and Pirro Cuniberti. Prices for Fortuny lighting can differ depending upon size, time period and other attributes — on 1stDibs, these items begin at $9,000 and can go as high as $9,000, while a piece like these, on average, fetch $9,000.
Questions About Fortuny Lighting
  • 1stDibs ExpertApril 5, 2022
    Founded in 1922, Mariano Fortuny’s designs are handcrafted on the island of Giudecca, in Venice, Italy. Fortuny is famous for its pleated dresses, and for its technique of pleating, which has never been revealed. On 1stDibs, find a collection of Fortuny pieces from some of the world’s top sellers.

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