From the Paris Galliera:
Mariano Fortuny y Madrazo (1871-1949) was the son of the Spanish painter Mariano Fortuny y Marsal (1831-1874) and, like his father, he started out as a painter. He moved to Venice in 1889 and his name has always been associated with that city. His highly eclectic tastes encompassed engraving, photography, furniture and lighting design, as well as stage design and stage lighting. In 1906, he turned his attentions to fabrics, with his “Knossos scarf” made of silk, printed with motifs inspired by Kamares pottery from the Minoan period. His dress designs liberated the female form. He reinterpreted the styles and motifs of Ancient Greece, the Middle-Ages and the Renaissance, and he created timeless, unwaisted pieces with soft, straight-hanging lines.
Fortuny would turn every fabric into a uniquely magnificent piece with subtle reflections of light. In the gowns worn by such legendary women as Countess Greffulhe and her daughter Élaine, Eleonora Duse, Ellen Terry, and Oona Chaplin, visitors can admire his carefully researched prints made from metallic powders on silk velvet, with their Byzantine, Japanese and Persian influences. The Mariano Fortuny exhibition is an invitation into the soft, shimmering world of a prolifically inventive designer who was a zealous advocate for liberating the female form, and a believer in the ultimate luxury: comfort. A total immersion in timeless elegance.