c1907-1920 Mariano Fortuny Pleated Muted Raspberry Silk Gown
Similar Fortuny gowns are held in museums and private collections world-wide and they are becoming increasingly hard to find. A version in green is a part of the permanent collection at The Costume Institute of The Metropolitan Museum of Art (pictured). The description of that gown is so wonderful I thought I would share it with you here verbatim:
"Mariano Fortuny created a number of variations of his pleated silk gowns. In this model, he combined elements of the classical chiton and the peplos. A "tunic" is attached along its neckline to a long sleeveless underdress, suggesting the apoptygma of the classical peplos. This effect is further emphasized by the handkerchief points at either hip, which would have been seen on the sides of an authentic apoptygma. In the ancient Grecian peplos, the arm openings were positioned along the neckline edge rather than the sideseam edges. This resulted in a dipping hemline at either side of the garment when worn. Fortuny took this structural attribute and achieved the similar, purely decorative effect by cutting away at the tunic's front and back hem. Further, he interpreted the buttoned or pinned closings characteristic of a chiton's shoulder seams by connecting the topline seam of the tunic's sleeves with Venetian glass beads interlaced with silk "rat tail" cording. Fortuny was noted for his antiquarian intentions and scholarly treatment of classical dress, yet in the end, he invented rather than replicated a Hellenic style."
This beautiful version is a labeled Mariano Fortuny gown, circa 1907-1920. It is not perfect but still wearable and a wonderful example of his work. It's imperfections mean a huge difference in price. In hunting for a comparable I found the very few examples out there to range from $10,500 - $16.500 and none were anywhere near this glorious color.
The dress is hand dyed to an deep raspberry, the pleated silk has a corded silk drawstring at the neck, short kimono style sleeves and an attached tunic with pointed side panels all of which are weighted with deep red, Venetian glass striped beads. The gown is in good condition. The silk is strong and wearable with no splits in the pleats. The pleats have softened throughout and this is the primary reason for the reduction in price. From a wearability point of view it has no effect and gives the gown a softer, more romantic, billowing feel. The beads that should lie along the arm to close it like the one you see from the Met are missing. You could tack the arm shut where a bead would be but I actually loved the open feel that gives it a modern look so chose to leave it as found. I see one spot that is lost in the folds and if held to the light perhaps a tiny pinhole or two but nothing alarming. Even the one from the MET seems to have the same softening of the pleats and I believe this occurs partly from age and partly as a result of the pleats being moved more in this area when worn. All the beads are present along the sides and bottom edge of the tunic. The color, style of sleeve and type of beads used place this in the very early years of Fortuny's career. It is signed along the tape at the seam.
It is 69" long from the mid neck at the back to the hem and the width will accommodate pretty much any size. The upper inside bodice is lined in a nude silk that is fully intact. Part of the seam was loose and I had it lightly tacked down along the edge.
Note that antique and twenties pieces are final sale. They will be packed exceedingly well and we only sell pieces that will stand up to the stress of shipping, however, having pieces potentially shipped multiple times through multiple customs and countries is too hard on garments that are historically important and deserve to be treated with love and care. Please purchase accordingly.
Modern Sizing Equivalent: OSFA
This garment has been professionally cleaned, pressed and is odor free. Thoroughly checked over before shipping, it will be ready to wear upon arrival.