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Mariano Fortuny

Spanish, 1871-1949

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 was indeed proficient with product design, too, and developed lighting systems for theatre performances). He designed a range of clothing for his couture house, and today, vintage Fortuny evening gowns, gemstone-colored day dresses, coats 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.

Find vintage Mariano Fortuny clothing and textiles on 1stDibs.

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Designer: Mariano Fortuny
A Pleated Silk Delphos dress by Mariano Fortuny - Venice Circa 1930
By Mariano Fortuny
Located in Toulon, FR
Circa 1920-1930 Italy - Venice Delphos long dress in apricot-coloured pleated silk pongee by the famous Italian couturier Mariano Fortuny (Attributed to). Straight, tubular cut in fo...
Category

1920s Italian Mariano Fortuny

Mariano Fortuny Gauze Sleeveless Coat Vest
By Mariano Fortuny
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Offering a Mariano Fortuny (Labeled) Gauze Sleeveless Coat Vest. Label on the shoulder inside seam. Murano Bead on tie string.
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Early 20th Century Italian Mariano Fortuny

A Mariano Fortuny Printed Cotton Fabric - Italy Circa 1940
By Mariano Fortuny
Located in Toulon, FR
Circa 1930/1950 Italy Metrage for curtain or refined decoration of a blue marbled cotton with large Terracotta decoration by Mariano Fortuny, famous Venetian manufacturer. Cotton tw...
Category

1940s Italian Mariano Fortuny

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Mariano Fortuny fashion for sale on 1stDibs.

Find an extraordinary range of authentic Mariano Fortuny fashion available on 1stDibs. Customers who are interested in this designer might also find the work of Balenciaga, Manolo Blahnik, and Roberto Capucci appealing. On 1stDibs, find haute couture, vintage and designer Mariano Fortuny fashion from top boutiques around the world. Mariano Fortuny fashion prices can differ depending upon time period and other attributes. On 1stDibs, the price for these items starts at $2,113 and tops out at $12,500, while the average work can sell for $7,306.

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