The late couturier Mariano Fortuny y Madrazo may be best known for such iconic gowns as the Delphos—a body-hugging shift of finely pleated silk—but a new exhibition at New York’s Queen Sofia Spanish Institute, conceived and curated by Oscar de la Renta, sheds light on the breadth of Fortuny’s creative talent and artistic familial pedigree.
From left: Mrs. William Wetmore modeling a Delphos gown in front of Fortuny fabric. Originally published in Vogue, December 15, 1935; Countess Elsie Lee Gozzi wearing an Eleanora dress, 1920s.
During his eponymous atelier’s 40-year reign from 1906 to 1946, Fortuny dressed a who’s-who of society originals—from Marchesa Casati and Isadora Duncan to Peggy Guggenheim and Gloria Vanderbilt. Though he found his calling in textile and clothing design, Fortuny trained as a painter, no doubt inspired by his parents: His father, Mariano Fortuny y Marsal, was one of Spain’s most important artists, while his mother descended from a long and celebrated line of artists, curators, and collectors. De la Renta’s Fortuny y Madrazo: An Artistic Legacy, opening today, brings together a selection of his dresses, paintings, lithographs, and photographs, all set against key works by his creative forebears, lending a unique historical perspective. Not to be overlooked are the exhibition walls themselves—all draped in Fortuny’s signature sumptuous fabrics.
Fortuny y Madrazo: An Artistic Legacy will be on display at the Queen Sophia Spanish Institute through March 30.
Photos: Top, from left: Courtesy of Fortuny Inc. and the Riad Family; courtesy of the Museo del Traje, Madrid. Bottom, from left: Photograph by Lusha Nelson | Copyright © Condé Nast Publications; photograph by Edward Thaver Monroe, courtesy of the Riad Family.