Fortuny Venezia’s Very Fortunate History

This week, Amy & I were invited to experience the introduction of Fortuny Venezia’s new fabric collection, Colourismo at Elloise Abbott’s Showroom at the International Design Center. The fabrics were new and exciting, but most of all we enjoyed hearing Maury Riad give the details of Fortuny’s history.

Mariano Fortuny was born in 1871 in Spain into a family of renowned artists. He lived briefly in Paris and in 1889 moved to Venice, where he established himself as a painter, then an etcher, a sculptor, a photographer, an architect and inventor. He entered the fashion industry in 1907 and his revolutionary garments, including the Delphos gown, that “emphasized the female body in motion” (via Fortuny website) as well as being both elegant and versatile.  The gown hugged the body with finely pleated silk all the way to the floor.

To this day, noone has been able to replicate the fine tight pleating that remained in his garments and held its shape for many years.  This was all done by hand!

Delphos Gown via Wikipedia

Click here to see more vintage Delphos Gowns by Fortuny like above

Fortuny then began work on the textiles that are still manufactured today. The production of these textiles was pure artistic genius with the “culmination of his knowledge of engineering, color, design, and art.”

After Mariano Fortuny’s passing in 1949, his widow, Henriette, convinced that her husband’s work must continue, contacted Elsie Lee to take over and resume the production of the textiles. In the early 1980’s she convinced Maged F. Riad to purchase the company from her “to preserve and protect the work and legacy of Mariano Fortuny.”

Mr. Riad’s sons, Mickey and Maurey, have been running Fortuny’s daily operations since 1998. Today under the Riad brothers’ management, Fortuny is instilled with the spirit set forth by the founder. Every Fortuny fabric is still produced in the same factory, on the same machines, using the same secret process and techniques handed down from generation to generation.

Here are some of the new fabrics from the Colourismo 2012 line. Gorgeous!


Murillo in Green and Gold

Sainte Chapelle in Urban Violet & Gold Texture

One of our favorites.  Meant to immolate the brush strokes of watercolor. Nuvole in Bruno & Red

Here it is in Turkish Blues.

Below are a few products/pictures using Fortuny fabrics…


via VandM

We absolutely love this lamp designed with Fortuny fabrics!  Find more information here or you can find it on the Fortuny website.

via Interior Design Magazine

Pair of Chairs

via Inspiration Online Blog & Designer Shannon Bower

Even the pups love Fortuny!  Found this cute pic from a dog fashion show.

We were excited to find out that Fortuny is on the cutting edge of technology, trying to stay up with it’s clientele.  So encouraging that a company can stay true to it’s history, but provide modern resources to it’s clients as well! I’m talking about an app that allows you to access Fortuny fabrics anytime and even order samples!  Check it out here…

That’s it for this week friends.  Hope you enjoyed learning a little about the wonderful Fortuny history!

Please feel free to comment below with any questions or just whatever’s on your mind.

6 Responses to “Fortuny Venezia’s Very Fortunate History”
  1. Love the post, thank you so much for the kind words! We’re glad you like the new collection.

  2. Marilyn G Russell, ASID, NEWH, IIDA says:

    Great post. I recently found out about Fortuny while visiting the DDB in New York lat week. What a great company, story and product. I love their textiles.

  3. SCHAER (FORTUNY) says:

    Hello, i’m very impressioned to visiting this Fortuny collection, my Family have the FORTUNY Name, my great Father have a Family in Paris … my firsth name is FORTUNY I’m glad to see that was a pioneer of Mode an decoration – I love all creation –

    • Amy Armstrong says:

      I’m so glad you found our blog then! I can imagine how interesting it would be to visit the factory, especially if you’re family!

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