Hispanic DesignersMariano Fortuny

Fortuny Dress and Belt Side View

Fortuny Woman's Jacket

Mariano Fortuny (1871-1949) was born in Granada, Spain, to a family of artists. The Fortunys lived in Paris and Spain and eventually settled in Venice, Italy, after his father's death in 1874. Inspired by his surroundings and encouraged by his family, Mariano became a painter. Fortuny's artistic interests covered a range of creative endeavors, from sculpture, photography, and interior design to stage and set design and stage lighting. His interest in dyes and chemistry led him to textile and costume design, areas for which he is best known today.

Influenced by Orientalism and neoclassicism, Fortuny created lush and decorative fabrics. Using a mixture of hand and screen painting to decorate his fabrics allowed him the freedom to experiment and design. His most famous design was the "Delphos," a classic pleated tea gown he began making around 1907 and continued until his death. He considered his dress concepts to be inventions, and in 1909 he patented the pleating process and the machine he invented, and copyrighted the design of the dress. Although his textile designs and clothing were in constant demand, he always considered himself a painter.