In a signed handwritten note filed with the patent for the machine used to create the iconic pleats for the Delphos dress, Mariano Fortuny credits his collaborator and wife as the inventor: “This patent is the property of Madame Henriette Brassart, who is the inventor. I submitted this patent in my name given the urgency of filing.”
From the innovative minds and imagination of Henriette and Mariano, the Delphos dress explodes into the world, igniting a liberation of the female form and individual expression. A testament to the power of collaboration, they created a revolution in design, described by Proust as being “faithfully antique, but markedly original.” The design for the dress was born from the intellect of a visionary and intuition of an alchemist — bringing together the art of ancient Greece with the fierce moment of change pulsing through the early 1900s.
More than a hundred years later, we celebrate Women’s History Month as spring arrives in Venice at the factory where our story began. As the light stretches long and golden and the world quickens around us, we are grateful to the extraordinary women here at Fortuny today who continue this deep love of art and alchemy, carrying forward the vision and artistry that began our journey, which remains modern to the moment.
Named for the ancient Greek city where the temple and theater of Apollo were located, the ancient Greeks believed it was the center of the world. The Charioteer of Delphi, an ancient bronze sculpture discovered in 1896, helped inspire Mariano and Henriette to develop their iconic pleated Delphos dress.