I mentioned earlier this week that while in New Orleans this past weekend, we found the greatest little shop on Magazine owned by Shaun Smith. It had such yummy finds like a rich chocolate velvet sofa that one of my friends was gaga over, an upholstered headboard that was so cozy it looked as though it would hug you in bed, and accessories that you just don't see everywhere.
My favorite item in the store were these Fortuny fabric pillows. They had a pretty flange trim in a putty silk and the handpainted fabric looked so interesting. Again, these photographs do not do these pillows justice. Suffice it to say I have been day dreaming about the fabric all week.
So, I decided to do a little research on the fabric. Turns out, this hand painted technique on silk has been around for ages. In fact it was so popular that manufacturers began creating knock offs and mass producing it. I have seen the mass produced versions many many times. But never the real deal. The vintage version is so different that I did not recognize it as the same fabric.
Here's a closer look.
Here is another example of the handpainted fabric from 1st Dibbs. These are circa 1960.
$1,895.00 for the pair.
This one is beautiful, but it does not have the same hand painted feel to the ones above.
So, what is Fortuny fabric and why the pricey originals (and knock offs that are also pricey)?
These amazing fabrics were first created by Mariano Fortuny who was born in Spain in 1871 and moved to Venice at the turn of the century. He acquired the Venezian-Gothic Palazzo and used it as his home, studio, and showroom throughout his life. The palazzo now houses the Fortuny Museum.
Self-Portrait of Mariano Fortuny
Prior to creating his signature fabrics, Fortuny was an accomplished painter, and fashion designer. This painter's background coupled with his fashions, led Fortuny to the creation of this one of a kind fabric. It has been said Mariano Fortuny was "a master in perfecting the way light bounced off his fine fabrics, and due to this his name stands for the pinnacle in textile achievement."
Following the original hand painted versions of his fabric, Fortuny purchased a factory which is still in operation today. This factory uses the same special dying and textile techniques he perfected over half a century ago. As with all things, the Fortuny fabrics have undergone modernization and the line now has a multitude of designs from the traditional to a more modern version.
OK, so I know what you're thinking . . . please, please tell us where we can find a really inexpensive knock off that looks just like the real thing? Well, I wish I knew. If any of you have a source, please let me know. I do have a few options for knock offs of this lovely fabric, but they simply do not do the original fabric justice.
Here's what I found:
$59.50 a yard
$59.50 a yard
$161.00 a yard
This is the least expensive that I found, but it doesn't appear to have the same metallic qualities as the others examples I found.
$7.65 a yard