The Fortuny. A family history.

Mariano Fortuny y Madrazo was born in 1871 in the shade of the Alhambra.

His father was Mariano Fortuny y Marsal, an artist with an important art collection that would later on be his inspiration for his designs. His mother, Cecilia de Madrazo, was the daughter of Federico de Madrazo, the director of the Prado Museum. Mariano was thus from the start surrounded by art and culture.

Mariano grew up between Paris and Venice, but it was in Venice that he opened his atelier in the Palazzo Pesaro – Orfei where he worked together with his love Henriette Nigrin. Their most famous designs?

The Delphos, a plissé silk dress inspired by the Charioteer of Delphi found in 1896 and created by pleating the fabric hundreds of times. One centimeter of fabric is pleated 5 times, thus the Delphos dress, consisting in a 5 meter wide silk cloth is pleated about 2.250 times!

His other invention is the Knossos, a large scarf, decorated with geomatrical motives inspired by archeological findings from Knossos (thus the name!), that is wrapped around the body. One of the most important testimonials of this new design was Ruth St Denis.

Till November you can still admire his designs and see the stencils that Mariano used for his creations in the exhibition dedicated to him and his family in the Museo Fortuny.

This post is also available in: German