21 October 2010

she wore Fortuny


La robe de Fortuny que portaitce soir~la Albertine me semblait comme l'ombre tentatrice de cette invisible Venise. Elle etait envahie d'ornementation arabe. Marcel Proust, 1923, La Prisonniere

Gloria Vanderbilt and Fortuny, photographed by Richard Avedon for VOGUE 1969. In the article Vanderbilt recalls her first glimpses of the innovative gowns made with a revolutionary patented process by Fortuny :

"I recalled first seeing the gowns at Miss McNeill's Madison Avenue shop before they stopped making them...There was a whole wall of floor to ceiling drawers each filled with different coloured dresses... each its own rainbow  of shades from the deepest to the palest tones, of red, or green, or blue, or violet... It was beautiful...Just absolutely beautiful... And since you never hang them up they just lay there, tenderly tucked away in loose curls and twists like little embryonic fishes."

"Each dress has an exclusivity, a nicety of details that is at the heart of its desirability, and the unique texture of the fabrics gives each one a remarkable simplicity and,at  the same time, an extraordinary luxuriousness." -GV

Vanderbilt wore the jewelry designer- Rita Delisi's artful body ornament creations with her Fortuny gowns. " It was Fortuny's idea that woman is always something more than woman.. a flower... an urn... a statue."- GV  The Delisi pieces seem to enhance that idea.

 of all the outdoor and indoor gowns that Mme. de Guermantes, wore, those which seemed to respond to  a definite intention, to be endowed with a special  significance, were the garments made by Fortuny form old Venetian models. Is it their historical charterer, is it rather the fact that each one of them is unique that gives them so special significance that the pose of the woman who is wearing one while she waits for you to appear or while she talks to you assumes an exceptional importance as though the costume had been the fruit of a long deliberation... Proust

the Louvre's Nefertiti & below  the Charioteer of Delphi- both inspiration for Fortuny.

Lillian Gish-1920 at left , Natasha Rambova,1924, (r)

the incredible TINA CHOW in Fortuny

Lauren Bacall in Fortuny, 1976

Isadora Duncan & her daughter in Delphos gowns,at left,Mme.Conde Nast, 1909, (r)

Natalia Vodianova in her Fortuny gowns

get yours.

FORTUNY PEPLOS GOWN, c. 1920. Pink crinkled silk with attached short sleeve tunic, the bottom curving toward open side seams trimmed in silk cord and joined at intervals with blue Murano glass beads, matching trim on sleeves and tunic bottom, separate pink silk sash with metallic stenciled design. Sash and seam tape stamped "Fortuny Dep". Length 57, sash 2 5/8 x 45. (Silk drawstring frayed) otherwise excellent. $5,000-6,000. (HERE)

TRAINED FORTUNY DELPHOS GOWN with ORIGINAL BOX, c. 1920. Pale orange silk having draw- string neckline, side seams decorated with brown striped yellow beads, stenciled bodice bands (detached), tape label "Fortuny Depose Made in Italy", drum shaped box with Madison Avenue boutique label on lid, Fortuny store label with customer name and address on bottom. Bust 38, front length 55, back length 63. (Small spot on front, draw- string frayed, stitch marks from bands) good. $4,000-5,000.(HERE)

alas, likely it will be this-  THE WORLD OF GLORIA VANDERBILT  by Wendy Goodman.

but it's really quite alright- she has long been seen and admired here. As Town and Country writes-and rightly so-'There will never be another Gloria Vanderbilt.'

a great piece in T&C's November issue is devoted to photographs of Vanderbilt by Richard Avedon-who introduced her to third husband Sidney Lumet. Photographers Horst, Gianni Penati -a favorite GV photo of mine- and Toni Frissell's work are featured as well.

the long overdue book by Goodman provides intimate access to Vanderbilt archives- photographs, portraits, personal collections and her extraordinary homes and Anderson Cooper- Vanderbilt's son, writes the foreword.

get it-
if you can't get your Fortuny.

see my own Fortuny here

images from VOGUE Nov 1969,  FORTUNY, Deschodt and Poli
and Whitaker Auctions



  1. swan heaven. the gish photo makes me crazy; it's perfect. as is gloria. there couldn't be another, could there? magnificence all around. bravo!

  2. Marvelous post, LA. gorgeous photos. I looked at the T&C essay on GV only last evening. She was a divinely beautiful creature. I recall visiting the Fortuny museum years ago, and was mesmerized by it. A mad combination of the most exquisite fabrics imaginable, and walls covered with paintings of candy box girls in various stages of undress. Divine.

  3. Always a classic and timeless! This a wonderful post with seriosly beautiful photographs!

  4. Oh, I only I could get one, I am not sure I have earned it yet though...

  5. Love being compared to a statue, urn or flower. A stoic interpretation and yet comparison to a delicate and colorful flower too.
    Should not all women be adorned? The way to dress has adapted into a morphed way of self creativity. These gowns are lush, delicate and extremely feminine.
    I long for the days of bygone where petticoats and tailored snaps and laced up bodice styles were high fashion.
    Beautiful gowns....

  6. Having been to a number of weddings this year, I will say that I never understand why brides insist on cookie cutter wedding dresses that all look alike, when for the same price they could get a work of art -such as these! (BTW, I am not referring to a recent bride we both know and love -who had a DIVINE dress).

  7. Victoria- all my favs together in fortuny. I am sadly lacking one. oh to have the first- I think, which do you want? well seeing the 1st is mine,you may have the 2nd! xo Gaye

  8. RD, I have to say I will pay to tag along on a jaunt with you and Boy! I would love to see that museum, as I say- this book will fill that fortuny VOID in the closet til- pgt

  9. David, the GV photographs are some I have had back to get out, with the- I know -great Goodman book, it seemed perfect timing.

    Catherine- I think YOU have totally earned that one! xo

  10. La Maison, it is true, she expresses herself wonderfully and the gowns must have inspired her. True art-it is said that F. did not consider- how dare- himself a fashion designer, but artist, inventor, etc. the pleating was patented and as said revolutionary in the day. I love the velvet coats he did too.

  11. Stefan! How exciting to know you were there. I saw a snippet of gown and veil? on her mother's blog and what a perfect weekend. You are SO right-why would any bride have anything but something like one of these. Congrats on the Fox naming- oh that you must be thrilled and a bit flummoxed as well. I am no fan of the beast.but any honor given you is well deserved-you are a FAV HERE TOO! gt

  12. Ohhh my. Completely speechless at the skill and vision required to create these incredible gowns. Beyond beauty...Gloria is exquisite, of course. Had a peek at the other link you provided. Your Fortuny is wonderful. I adore your bedroom too. I've always wanted bookshelves in my bedroom! Your animals are adorable.

    Have a lovely day.

  13. Chic.

    The Delphos is mine.

  14. Hillhouse, the dresses are heavenly. I appreciate the compliment- it makes for good reading.

  15. Flo, uh oh. we may have our first tug of war! G

  16. from Dororthy,
    that is always one of my wishes..to own a Fortuny not the one with the peplum but the graceful long one unadorned by jewelry The dress stands by itself and needs no adornment. and I too have long admired Gloria .. she made some unusual art work that was heavily adorned with jeweled stones imposted( is that the right word?) ???? it was three dimensional and highly original. She surely has had along and eventful life -She's a survivor. love Dorothy

  17. A la Meg Ryan...Yes! Yes! Yes!



Related Posts with Thumbnails