Mariano Fortuny, a Spanish artist based in Venice, created “unique” garments made from marvelous fabrics that evoked for Proust “that Venice loaded with the gorgeous East.” In Proust’s novel, the Duchesse de Guermantes often wears Fortuny, and the narrator asks her about one such gown “streaked with gold like a butterfly’s wing” that seemed to have a special poetry. Soon he is bribing his mistress Albertine to stay with him, by buying her Fortuny gowns that “swarmed with Arabic ornaments, like the Venetian palaces hidden like sultanas behind a screen of pierced stone.”
Proust’s Muse, The Countess Greffulhe runs through January 7, 2016 at The Museum at FIT in NYC.
Jacket, circa 1912
Bronze green silk velvet printed with gold, matching belt
GAL1964.20.14AB, gift of the Gramont family to the Palais Galliera