Fortuny stenciled Abba
Circa 1910 Fortuny Abba in sage green, pale gold and bronze tinted silver with Italian 15th century thistle and serpentine pomegranate design, beige silk faille lining,
Coat is inspired by 15th century Italian textiles which in turn were influenced by earlier Turkish textiles. Fortuny inherited a collection of early European and Middle Eastern textiles and added to it. In his stenciled silk velvets, through repeated dyeing, he produced unevenly dyed textural cloth which had the feeling of age and wear. His surface patterns were derived from the great textile traditions of the past. The diagonal linked pomegranate which is the one used here has great drama because of its large scale.
The construction is rectangular which displays the surface pattern to best advantage with a minimum of disruption from darts and seams. In order to keep the pattern in the correct direction, there are seams at the shoulders. Fortuny used the rectangular construction frequently in jackets and coats of varying length.
Date: Circa 1910. This coat has used several dressmaking technique "errors" in its construction. This is not surprising in that Fortuny was not a trained dressmaker but rather an artist who worked in the medium of costume. These errors include the choice of black thread for the seam construction of the velvet. The very tight gauge of the sewing machine stitches in the velvet. No allowance was made for the lining which stretches less than the velvet over time. Since Fortuny was a perfectionist, these errors were rectified in his later work. However, it does suggest that this is indeed an early seminal example of his work.
Condition: Very good. The exterior is in excellent condition with only a couple of very small marks underneath the arms which are lost visually by the antiqued quality of the fabric. Heavy wear has damaged the original lining at the apertures. At one arm aperture, the lining has been patched which allows the viewer to understand the nature of the damage. At the other apertures, the damage has been supported with an overlay of custom dyed chiffon which has been folded back on itself to create 3 layers leaving the selvage as an interior layer for strength. The label has been left intact. Material for the patching was taken from the hem return of the lining.
Label: Mariano Fortuny/Venise