February 26, 2019 2 min read
Learn about Fortuny and visit their showroom with Carey.
Born in 1871 to a renowned family of artists in Spain, Mariano Fortuny was predestined for greatness. Throughout his life, the entrepreneur, inventor and designer worked tirelessly on a range of ambitious projects, often shutting himself out from outside contact for long stretches. In his time, a shortage and increased price of silk coaxed him to work with cotton, a more accessible material. To this day, his methods of treating the otherwise meagre fabric are well guarded and used in the factory.
Fortuny studied the ancient Japanese and Southeast Asian method of hand-printing, including the Pochoir Method - a technique of making fine limited edition stencil prints. One of his most famous techniques was combining metal powder with pigments to create a shimmering metallic thread, inspired by sixteenth-century velvets. He was an expert dyer, and on occasion would use more than twelve process on each unique length of fabric.
After waiting three hours in a secluded piazza, someone finally arrived to open the doors. The showroom was quaint with low ceilings covered in original decorative paintings accented with a vintage register. The walls, curtains, and upholstery were all adorned with Fortuny fabric from various periods. I felt like a time traveller.
The grandson of the original Chief of Staff (!) walked me through the vintage fabrics, pulling the delicately wrapped fabrics from wooden library, as well as new pieces on rolls; going through the details on the colouring and how the dye is made by hand using Mariano’s original recipes.
The richness, craftsmanship, and attention to detail was euphoric. The original showroom is no longer in use, as timeless Fortuny fabrics have gained again in popularity. They have now opened a gorgeous and luxurious showroom within their factory. However, I find myself very fortunate to have been able to stand inside the original before it was vacated.
Photos courtesy ItalianWays.com.