Crafted in one size, the gown features concealed drawstrings on the bodice to allow for personal adjustments.
Fortuny’s ability to romantically evoke the past has seen the Delphos immortalised in the works of some of the greatest writers of the 20th century. A devoted admirer of Fortuny, French novelist Marcel Proust describes the Delphos as “faithfully antique but markedly original.” The 1920s proved to be a successful period for Fortuny because he was providing what the modern woman was seeking, an alternative to the constrictive corseted fashions of the time. For her revival of classical Greek dance, Isadora Duncan famously wore a Delphos gown to reveal the freedom of her movements, and patron of the arts Marchesa Luisa Casati was one of the first socialites to wear the Delphos. Fortuny cared little for the sphere of high fashion and the changing style or silhouette, as he was immersing himself in the artistic process from idea to realisation.
And it’s Fortuny’s view of Venice as an enclave of inspiration that compelled me to visit the floating city in the summer of 2019, and I relished the opportunity to visit the Palazzo Orfei, now converted into the Fortuny Museum. With a tantalising collection of Fortuny’s paintings, stencils and textiles, the Delphos was every bit the spectacle I envisioned. Light danced on the silky surface of the Delphos from every angle, illuminating the gown’s streaks of silver like the metallic scales of butterfly wings.