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09.11.2018 | Елена Державец

Full immersion

< strong>Mariano Fortuny     Christian Dior    Yves Saint Laurent


Autumn Paris 2017 will be remembered for a long time by professionals and fashion fans. Warm, sunny, with the morning smell of croissants and fragrant coffee, roasted chestnuts, the silence of parks and squares dressed in golden foliage… and at once with four exhibitions dedicated to iconic personalities of the fashion world.


Full immersion. Mariano Fortuny


The French capital is a traditional haven for romantics, gourmets and fashion lovers. But in autumn, it is also replete with unique fashion events. It is amazing how four exhibitions came together in one city at one time, the value of which is clear not only to historians, but also to every person who has ever heard the names of Yves Saint Laurent, Christian Dior, Mariano Fortuny and Irwin Penn.

The three days spent in Paris were like a deep-sea dive into the world of authentic haute couture art. At first it seemed that from such a large number of expositions on one subject, everything would get mixed up in my head. But even the feelings, not to mention the exhibitions themselves, were completely different.


Full immersion. Mariano Fortuny

«Dior. The couturier of dreams is luxury and splendor in everything. The curators of the exhibition made sure that visitors of all ages and nationalities, moving from hall to hall, exclaimed: "Oh my God!» And that­­kaya reaction is not surprising. Each dress presented in the exhibition is a masterpiece with its own character, idea and history. It was impossible to get around the entire exhibition in one day, to consider and understand the idea of each work. One could only catch the atmosphere of the Dior House, understand what it breathes, is fueled and has been living for 70 years.

The Yves Saint Laurent Museum opened in October 2017 and is located in a mansion in which the Fashion House has lived since 1974. In­­ the intelligent atmosphere is unusually combined with the elegance of the costumes. In the museum there is an office of the master with sketches, materials, a library, famous glasses are on the table. You can visit here at any time, the museum's collection is constantly replenished, and, accordingly, the expositions change.


Full immersion. Mariano Fortuny

At the exhibition "Mariano Fortuny"Spaniard in Venice", unlike the first two, there is no such crowd of people. Mostly white-haired Frenchmen of noble appearance walk through the halls, for whom the name of the fashion designer is not a distant story. The palace style of the Gallier Museum takes visitors into the creative world of the designer from the first minutes and subtly emphasizes the beauty of his works.

As we dive deep into the era in which these artists worked, we realize how intertwined everything is, how close the connections in art are: designers, actors, photographers, sculptors, writers, philosophers... Scrolling through the history of one, you will certainly find the threads of the other's life. Thus, the achievements of Fortuny were used by Dior and his successor Yves Saint Laurent. And photographs of Dior and Saint Laurent collections in Vogue magazine and portraits of brilliant artists of the first half of the XX century in dresses "Delfos", made by Irwin Penn, became the logical conclusion of the Paris fashion marathon, as if generalizing the perception of what they saw these days. Such a thoroughness suggested the route, by which we moved from the exhibition to the exhibition  along the chain, revealing the connection of the times…



So, let's start with the exposition organized for the 110th anniversary of the creation of the dress "Delfos" by the famous Spanish designer, theater artist and inventor Mariano Fortuny.


Full immersion. Mariano Fortuny

Italians rightfully consider him their fashion designer. Born in Granada in 1871, he spent his entire life in Italy, founded a textile factory in Venice, experimented a lot with fabrics, shape, color, creating original technologies.

His passion for staging Wagner operas led him to the theater, where Fortuny proved himself as an artist, decorator, architect. His passionate search and research from ­­ opened up new perspectives in the design of theatrical design. And the study of Ancient Greece, India and the East pushed the designer to create fundamentally different clothes in cut, texture, color and pattern.


Full immersion. Mariano Fortuny

The first creation was the "Knossos Scarf" with asymmetric geometric ri­­sunkami. It was a rectangular piece of silk that could be worn to your heart's content. As an accessory or a piece of clothing, it expanded the boundaries of conventions, without restricting the freedom of movement of the owner. The weightless dresses made of pleated silk invented by Fortune did not involve corsets. Similar to the robes of the gods of Olympus, they were provocative, but fell in love with the ladies. At first, such dresses were worn at home, and later they gained popularity among actresses and appeared in the wardrobes of fashionistas of the 20s of the last century. Due to the special properties of the material, they never lost their shape and were easily twisted for storage.

When you recall the silhouettes of that time, the image of the famous American dancer Isadora Duncan in a flowing dress "Delfos", which undoubtedly went down in fashion history, pops up in your memory.

In addition to silk, the production of printed velvets was an important activity of Fortuny's workshops. He invented textile dyeing and printing techniques that conveyed the beauty of antique brocades and tapestries; he turned cotton into an expensive fabric.


Full immersion. Mariano Fortuny

Marcel Proust was a fan of the artist, who repeatedly mentioned him in his books, and the list of his clients is filled with famous names: Sarah Bernhardt, Isadora Duncan, Alla Nazimova, Natasha Rambova, Anna Pavlova, Lillian Gish, Marchioness Kasati.

About 150 exhibits were exhibited in the museum. Rare dresses, fabric samples, drawings for printing, stencils of ornaments, photographs with interiors of Fortuny – all this naturally fit into the majestic decoration of the Palace – the Gallier Museum.

At the exit from the "muted" dark halls, visitors, as if transported to another era, found themselves in front of the works of modern fashion designers, followers of the creativity of the Spanish designer, implementing his ideas in the new time.


To be continued.


Expert photo.