I must admit, I have an obsession with Fortuny fabric. I have yet to use any of the fabric in my home, but I promise I will before I die. Words can’t describe the feelings that are evoked in me when I look at Fortuny fabric. I feel a sense of timeless beauty rooted in history and yet a sense of endless future opportunities.
Fortuny fabrics were created by Mariano Fortuny y Madrazo (1871 – 1949) who had the acumen of a scientist and the eye of an Old Master. Fortuny grew up in Spain and was fascinated by textiles as a child and would dye pieces of material for fun. At age 18, Fortuny moved to Venice with his family. He traveled throughout Europe, seeking out artists he admired. With his many varied talents, including inventing, painting, photography, sculpting, architecture and stage lighting, Fortuny became quite the Renaissance man. He ultimately secured twenty patents between 1901 and 1934.
Fortuny channeled historical references to create the designs of his sumptuous fabrics. He relied primarily on Renaissance, Byzantine and Art Nouveau motifs. In the beginning, Fortuny worked in his palazzo, experimenting with pigments and light until the light danced over the fabric. Then, as now, the workroom employed only natural vegetable dyes. To avoid tonal variations, Fortuny directed that the rolls be run through the presses more than a dozen times until the desired hues were achieved. For a century, mystery has shrouded the hand-printing techniques developed by Fortuny and the secretive methods are still known by only a select few. The factory still remains in its original Venice locale and produces radiant designs with signature metallic pigments. The world is a more beautiful place thanks to a gifted man with an abiding passion for beauty in fabric form and a mystique all his own.*
* Inspirations from France & Italy by Betty Lou Phillips