Fortuny Unveils Latest Collection W/S 2015


New York, NY (January 2015) – Legendary Venetian fabric house Fortuny is pleased to introduce its first new fabric collection in more than two years.

Drawing inspiration from Japanese folklore of “The Fox’s Wedding,” Fortuny released 30 new SKUs in the W/S 2015 collection, including four newly designed patterns, two archival patterns and seven existing patterns in new colorways.  The line also includes a limited edition series of Ann Wood designed Fortuny foxes wearing reversible Fortuny kimonos.

“We decided upon the theme of “The Fox’s Wedding” as we were playing around with halftones and production techniques,” says Mickey Riad, Creative Director of Fortuny.  “Japanese legend attributes the phenomenon of the way a sun shower can fool what your eye sees to foxes that often play tricks on humans. The idea that the new collection plays tricks on the eye fit perfectly with that theme.  In addition, the pattern and color choices that were inspired by Japanese art and textiles. ”

The goal of the collection was to create designs that embraced Mariano Fortuny’s painterly approach to fabric and play with the idea of what is seen and unseen, interpreting different elements as fabric.  Highlights include “Camo,” a Venetian interpretation of traditional camouflage that created the pattern from photographs of water and islands as opposed to foliage, “Scale,” which draws inspiration from a close up of butterfly wings and plays with lines fading in and out, and “Marmo,” Fortuny’s take on marble stone. Each of the Camo and Marmo patterns line up side to side in five different sections, to allow surfaces using these designs to appear to have no repeat.

Rounding out the collection are the limited edition foxes designed by Ann Wood.  The largest scale animals in the artist’s collection to date, the foxes showcase, through reversible kimonos, the 30 different patterns in the collection.

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About Fortuny
More than a century old, Fortuny remains the highly esteemed Venetian textile company founded by noted artist, inventor and fashion-turned textile designer, Mariano Fortuny. Today, under the management of the brothers Riad, Fortuny is infused with the spirit of its founder, Mariano Fortuny. Every Fortuny fabric is still produced in the same factory, on the same machines, using the same secret process and techniques handed down from generation to generation. Just as Mariano Fortuny used his love for the past and respect for tradition to inspire his creativity, today Fortuny continues to be a pioneer in the world of design and technology. From rich, new fabric colorways to furniture, Fortuny’s latest offerings celebrate the timeless versatility and allure of Fortuny with a contemporary point of view.

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No Talking Heads, but Talking Hands

My dad first told me my favorite story about my grandfather when he caught me gesturing with my hands while talking. When they were young kids, my dad and his sister tied my grandfather’s hands behind his back and tried to have a conversation with him. Like any true Sicilian, my grandfather’s immediate reaction was to lift up his hands and begin gesticulating, and once he realized this wasn’t possible, he suddenly couldn’t find the words. As a 10 year old, my dad found it hilarious, and it certainly is funny. But even more, it is a perfect illustration of the fascinating world that is Italian hand gestures.


As written in a 2013 New York Times piece on the topic, “To Italians, gesturing comes naturally. Children and adolescents gesture. The elderly gesture. Some joke that gesturing may even begin before birth.” It is present amongst every social spectrum, and is even (and especially) a part of Italy’s political spectacle. Many public figures are remembered for their habit of using hand gestures (like the clasped hands of Giulio Andreotti, as if to say, “I have the power and can use it if I want to”). These gestures have been around forever, often thought to have developed as ways to compete and mark territory in the crowded arenas of heavily populated Italian cities. While language evolved dramatically, gestures have more or less stayed the same.

3 munari_gestures10

Here at Fortuny, we take Italian lessons every Tuesday and decided to pick the brain of our lovely teacher, Andrea. He explained that the further south you go in Italy, the hotter it gets, and the hotter the heat, the hotter the temper. Naturally, this translates into more extreme hand gestures. Andrea tested out a few gestures on us, and our team member, Charlie, had a few ideas of his own when it came to what they meant. But regardless of how fluent (or not) we are in this language, if you will, it doesn’t take much to appreciate the history, uniqueness, and distinct Italian nature of talking with your hands.

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(Top left: Real answer – This is delicious! Charlie’s answer – I’m cute! Top right: Real answer – Capisce?! Charlie knew it! Middle left: Real answer – I’m so mad at you! Charlie’s answer – I forgot to do my homework! Middle right: Real answer – I’m broke! Charlie’s answer – Due / two. Bottom left: Real answer – Surprise! Fortuny’s answer – Actually…we couldn’t figure this one out!)


When Venice is too Far Away: A Meditation

Bob Mankoff, cartoon editor of The New Yorker, recently published an entertaining piece called “The Anatomy of a Cartoon,” in which he chronicles the inception and development of one of Joe Dator’s iconic drawings. His example depicts a couple sitting in a gondola while stuck in the middle of a classic Manhattan traffic jam.

Naturally, we at Fortuny were excited to discover that this wasn’t the only gondola-related cartoon: the rest of the piece offers a number of delightful illustrations from the archive all featuring the gondola, which is arguably one of the objects most synonymous with Venice.

From the hubbub and traffic of New York City, it’s pretty common for our minds to drift from Third Avenue into the day-to-day of our Venetian co-workers, floating down a canal in a hand-carved gondola.


Riding in a gondola seems to be the perfect trinity of form, function and experience: to travel the city by doing something completely unique to its history, to transport yourself physically, wasting no time underground or in bumper-to-bumper traffic.  Sagging, Victorian architecture, pockets of blue sky, and mysterious passageways drift by, with no car horns blowing.

Most importantly, the ride serves as a moment to reflect—about the present, past and future, and about such a mesmerizing city.  This rings true about New York, too, because despite its chaos, there is still a magical buzz present. Taking a second to remember this is something we could all stand to do once in a while.

All cartoons courtesy the New Yorker.



Above: The custom, hand-carved gondola belonging to Mickey and Maury’s friend, Umberto.


The Master: Fortuny Fashion Throughout the Years

No matter the city, whether it be New York, Milan or Paris, in every season surrounding the flurry of Fashion Week, there is an inevitable shift in the “It” crowd–new models arrive on the scene, new designers have their first shows, and new trends make their debuts. However, among all the new, one can often find a thread that traces back to the giants that came before. Among these is none other than the Fortuny Pleat.

While pleating is not something exclusive to Fortuny’s designs, his method is synonymous with elegance, quality, and uniqueness. Not to mention, it is one that many have attempted to emulate throughout the years. The tightness and characteristics of the Fortuny pleat can really only be achieved carefully and thoughtfully by hand and with silk. Many other types of pleats turn out linear or looser, due to fabric choice, execution, or the method used. Fortuny’s pleats will always stand alone–the nuances and attention to detail set them apart and are certainly why people still talk about Fortuny and his designs today.


The Delphos gown is arguably Fortuny’s most recognizable pleated work. Worn by the likes of Isadora Duncan, Lauren Bacall, and Tina Chow, the gown’s construction showcases the versatility of pleating, and even more, the versatility of the gown itself. Much like our fabrics here at Fortuny, each creation was a work of art. The flowing, masterful pleats resembled columns, and any woman who wore the Delphos gown looked effortless and statuesque.

Left: Oscar de la Renta (2012) Right: Jill Stuart (2015) 

It is no different in 2014, with women still striving to achieve a look of timeless sophistication, to which designers answer with pleats. They are a perpetual fashion week staple, most notably in designs by Oscar de la Renta and Lanvin. The Spring 2015 collections shown this past New York Fashion Week also have a number of notable homages to Fortuny’s cutting, styling, and pleating. Jill Stuart’s modern jumpsuit is crafted with a pleated blush-colored silk, while Alexander Wang, in an interview with Vogue, explained how he “wanted to reinterpret and manipulate [his] ideas and mix them with the cutting of Madame Grés and Fortuny.” Regardless of the methods used to achieve them, Fortuny’s pleats and silhouettes will always be aesthetically beautiful, tasteful, and intriguing, a testament to his revolutionary methods and iconic status among the world of design.


Milton Gendel’s Portrait of the Countess

Those that have had the honor of meeting or knowing Countess Elsie Lee Gozzi can attest to her larger-than-life persona, a fitting description for the woman responsible for bringing Fortuny’s textiles out of the churches, museums and theater and into people’s homes. Her relationship with Fortuny began in 1927 and continued until her death in 1994. Her charisma and taste were ever present in the patterns and colors and she made sure Fortuny maintained its legacy and presence when she took over the production in 1949 after Mariano Fortuny’s death, at the request of his widow, Henriette. However, while she was so greatly involved with the company, her private life was not something that was widely documented. In this day and age, people often feel as though it’s a given to know the intricacies of public figures’ lives, and while Fortuny’s history is readily available, the Countess’ is not.

Enter photographer Milton Gendel. Now 96 years old, Gendel was a fixture in the upper echelons of Rome’s social scene during its most glamorous moments in the 1950s and 60s. His photos often communicate this fact — Peggy Guggenheim and Queen Elizabeth were among his many subjects.


Gendel’s work was incredibly intimate, as he often said he never had the intention of publishing any of the images. The photograph below is a perfect example: Countess Gozzi and two other women sitting and talking over tea in Venice in 1977.


Their posture is natural, their faces are genuine, engaged. The moment, true to Gendel’s style, is absolutely authentic, offering a rare glance at the Countess—a woman who, like Gendel, appreciated beauty, craftsmanship, and loyalty.

The difference between this photograph and Gendel’s others is his role. Many of his works are lively and bustling, and his presence is strongly felt. He was always at once experiencing and documenting what he saw through the lens. However, with the image of the Countess, he feels like an observer. The photograph’s quiet nature suggests that Gendel did not want to interrupt the conversation, and all the unknowns of the circumstances add to its allure. It is exciting to ponder what brought the Countess and Gendel together, especially considering how much he valued who and what he photographed. But despite these unknowns, the image itself is still a treasure as the Countess sits surrounded by grand columns and the long, grassy branches of the willow trees, their earthy colors perhaps inspiring a new iconic Fortuny design or color palette.

A quick aside: Madeline Weinrib was a neighbor to Milton Gendel in Rome, and she posted an interview with him on her blog this past September — it’s a great read.


Some more of Gendel’s Society Portraits:



Anna LaetitiaLeo Castelli Lady Egremont Fendi Models Lady Diana Cooper
Prince Philip Spider QuinellMaurizio Mochetti


Ann Wood Interview on While She Naps

This week, Abby Glassenberg interviewed Ann Wood on her podcast While She Naps, where they discussed Ann’s process and inspiration for her beautiful handmade animals and objects.  She had some very nice things to say about our collaboration — so nice that we will forgive her for calling Mariano Fortuny, “Mario.”  He was many things, Ann, but never a cartoon plumber!


Listen to Ann Wood talk about Fortuny on “While She Naps with Abby Glassenberg”

Full episode:


Ann Wood for Fortuny: Birds Seeking Shelter Ann Wood for Fortuny: Two Owls and a Toadstool Ann Wood for Fortuny: Creepy Crawlers




Bill Cunningham’s “Facades”

Bill Cunningham’s series “Facades” is on view at the New York Historical Society through this Sunday, June 15.  In his project, which spanned from the late sixties to early seventies, Cunningham shot portraits of Italian-American photographer Editta Sherman in front of landmark buildings around Manhattan, dressed and posed in styles contemporary with the architecture of the building. Costumes were found in thrift stores, street fairs and auctions. In this picture in front of federal hall, Sherman is donning a 1910 Fortuny Delphos gown — good find, Bill Cunningham!


Bill Cunningham, Federal Hall (built ca. 1842, costume ca. 1910), ca. 1968-1976. Gelatin silver photograph. New-York Historical Society, Gift of Bill Cunningham.

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A Fascination with Greece: The Palace of Knossos


A lot can be learned from the sketchbook of a master — below is a scrap from 1906 that gave us a glimpse into Fortuny’s process and influence.

In 1905, Sir Arthur Evans’ completed his historic archeological dig of the palace of Knossos in Greece — this is Fortuny’s sketch of the discovered pieces.  It seems Fortuny, a known Grecophile, was among the first to study and sketch the decorative patterns of these vases. Fortuny’s Knossos motif is found in many of his textile patterns:

1906 was also the year of Fortuny’s first venture into fashion with the Knossos Scarf:

It is interesting to consider that while Fortuny’s Grecian influence is a deeply historic one, the reference to Knossos was, in fact, also a reference to a pivotal contemporary event — the new discovery of an ancient empire was a landmark in history, science and art.  As always, Fortuny’s interpretation is at once classical and modern.


Happy Father’s Day!

Father’s Day is on June 15th. Stop right there if you have considered gifting any of the following to your father: a tie, a mug, tools, anything emblazoned with “#1 Dad.”

If your father is like you, he has excellent taste. Read on for gift ideas that will kick up his style, whether he’s working, relaxing or out and about.


Fortuny Umbrella

Keep Dad dry with our Fortuny umbrellas. Each umbrella uses a meter of Fortuny fabric and the hand-shaped stem is made from a single piece of chestnut wood.


Fortuny Journals

For fathers who like to take a break from their iPads.


Fortuny Pillow

Spruce up Dad’s space with Fortuny pillows.


Fortuny Tedino Chair

Choose your furniture, choose your fabric, and give Dad the ultimate gift.

For more information, head to


Lunchtime at Fortuny

Ask us what our favorite part about working at Fortuny is.  You may expect us to mention the picturesque showroom we stroll into every morning, the luxurious and creative environment, or the collegial group we call the Fortuny Family.  However, more likely, we will tell you there is nothing we love more than lunchtime at Fortuny.

When the flood gates open at lunch hour and everyone pours into the streets of Midtown, clawing their way to the front of the Hale and Hearty line, we at Fortuny take a more civilized approach.  We choose a restaurant from our roster of favorites, and sit back while Seamless takes care of the rest.

What’s for lunch you ask?  Funny, we were pondering the same question around 9AM this morning.  Of course everyone has their two cents, and some of us are pickier than others, but there are still some staples we can all manage to agree on and usually no punches are thrown.

On the menu today:  Blockheads.  Who doesn’t love spending the afternoon working off a giant burrito?  Among our other favorite belly busters are Amma, Obao, and BRGR. Little Collins, the Aussie inspired coffee shop, is a newly welcomed and adored Midtown addition.  You really can’t go wrong with any of their sandwiches or daily specials, and adding one of their awesome pastries is an easy click away.

While Little Collins is the new kid on the block, there are some establishments that will never get old.  The argument about the best pizza in NYC rages just as fiercely here at Fortuny as anywhere else, and our favorite is Patsy’s Pizzeria.  We’re constantly mixing new cocktails of toppings and with their Upper East Side location right around the corner, we simply fill up an Ikea bag and return to the office, trophy in hand.

Next time you’re in the neighborhood, we hope you try one of our favorite spots.  You can always swing by the showroom – if you’re lucky, there will be leftovers.