An elegant fabric, Fortuny is also simple and versatile.
Fortuny. Do you know it? The most amazing of all fabrics? Designed by Mariano Fortuny (1871-1949), the fabrics are based on patterns from the Renaissance, Byzantine, and Art Nouveau periods. He produced his beautiful patterns on silk, velvets, and chiffon, although now they are largely found on cotton. They are wonderful on cotton however, because the elegant patterns contrast nicely with the humble material.
The watery background of a Fortuny fabric reflects its Venetian origins.
Living in Venice, Mariano Fortuny was inspired by water and the light that flickered off of it and into the Gothic windows of his palazzo. He and his wife worked together to create his secret process of dyeing the ground. No company has managed to successfully replicate that signature Fortuny look. If you flip over to the back of the fabric, you can see the difference. There are variations of a color that reflect the inspiration of that ever present water. The gorgeous patterns are then printed onto these grounds, often in golds or silvers. As beautiful as they are, sometimes I even prefer the back side. More on that in the next post.
I first learned of Fortuny in my early twenties. For a day, I shadowed a very chic designer in my hometown of Dallas. She was out shopping for projects, and I tagged along. She commented on a pair of Fortuny pillows that caught her eye. I had no idea of what she was speaking. Her look of disbelief that I was ignorant of such a thing of beauty, I won’t forget. It made enough of an impression on me that I quickly educated myself on this new discovery.
When I was working with my graphic designer to create my business logo, I showed him inspiration pages from Fortuny. The old world patterns appealed to me as did the simple labels in his famous pleated dresses. Again the contrast was interesting. Labels of muslin with a simple font were sewn into the delicately pleated silk dresses. The V of my logo was inspired by images found in this book.
If you would like to learn more about Mariano Fortuny, I recommend Fortuny which depicts his many creations, as well as his home, Palazzo Pesaro-Orfei. One of my clients who knows of my love of Fortuny, gave me this book as a present. It has wonderful pictures showing how different designers have used the fabric in their projects.
Would you like Fortuny in your home? Contact Casa V to add a touch of Venetian elegance to your life.