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Delphos

  • Object:

    Dress

  • Place of origin:

    Venice (city), Italy (made)

  • Date:

    1920-1923 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Mariano Fortuny, born 1871 - died 1949 (designer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Pleated silk, trimmed with amber beads and hand-sewn

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Elfrida Thorneycroft

  • Museum number:

    T.22-1985

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

  • Image unavailable

In a letter dated 25 June 1923, the sculptor Hamo Thorneycroft described his daughter in a pure white Fortuny Delphos dress: 'Elfrida...looking lovely in her silk Greek clinging dress - white, against the light of the Jap lanterns outside'. She gave her dress to the V&A in 1982.

The dress consists of narrow widths of pleated silk hand-sewn into a tube. Pleats make the fabric elastic so that the simple, flowing gown clings to the contours of the body. In this dress Fortuny used amber beads at the shoulders as decoration and also to weight the fine silk so that it draped elegantly. All the gowns were hand-made and adjusted to the body with concealed drawstrings on the shoulder and bodice.

The multi-talented Mariano Fortuny was a painter, theatre designer, photographer, inventor and scientist. He is, however, best known as a creator of extraordinary fabrics and clothes. In 1909 he registered his design for the 'Delphos' dress. It was based on the Ionic version of the Greek classical garment, the chiton. Performers such as Isadora Duncan and Sarah Bernhardt were among the first to wear them. Other women began to adopt them as informal tea gowns but later they became more acceptable for evening wear outside the home.

Physical description

Evening 'Delphos' dress of white pleated silk trimmed with amber beads at the shoulders. The dress consists of narrow widths of pleated silk hand-sewn into a tube. Hand-made and adjusted to the body with concealed drawstrings on the shoulder and bodice.

Place of Origin

Venice (city), Italy (made)

Date

1920-1923 (made)

Artist/maker

Mariano Fortuny, born 1871 - died 1949 (designer)

Materials and Techniques

Pleated silk, trimmed with amber beads and hand-sewn

Object history note

Registered File number 1983/1644.
In a letter dated 25 June 1923, the sculptor Hamo Thorneycroft described his daughter in a pure white Delphos dress: 'Elfrida ... looking lovely in her silk Greek clinging dress - white, against the light of the Jap lanterns outside'. She gave this dress to the V&A in 1982.

Descriptive line

Evening 'Delphos' dress of pleated silk trimmed with amber beads, designed by Mariano Fortuny, Venice, 1920-1923

Materials

Silk (textile); Amber (fossil resin)

Techniques

Hand sewing; Pleating; Trimmed

Categories

Textiles; Clothing; Fashion; Women's clothes

Production Type

Haute couture

Collection code

T&F

Qr_O147178
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