Quick history lesson first. Fortuny is the inventor of the "Delphos Gown." These dresses were produced starting in 1907 through the mid-40s. They were originally intended to be tea gowns to be worn at home by the ridiculously wealthy for private entertaining. As time went on they became more popular as evening gowns. I pulled this excerpt from the Manchester Art Galley's website.
"Working from Venice from about 1900, Mariano Fortuny (1871 - 1949) created one of the most enduring neo-classical "looks" of the twentieth century. Fortuny gained an early grounding in historic fabric patterning and design from his parents who collected antique textiles, and who encouraged him to involve himself in designing for the theatre. In these costume designs for the stage, he often looked directly to models from the Greek and Roman classical past, predating his fashionable clothing designs.
After 1910, Fortuny worked as a couturier, patenting a number of new techniques, including his famous pleating style for silks (which he made up into "Delphos" dresses in direct imitation of classical styles). He also invented a type of polychrome printing on thick pile velvets, and a system of rotary stencilling. Worked from Venice, he also opened "artistic" boutiques in Paris and Milan, and maintained outlets in shops such as Liberty & Co in London. His outfits were always aimed at an elite luxury market, but they have since proved to be timeless, still sought after and worn today."
Metropolitan Museum of Art I believe and dates from the 1920s. It's constructed of silk and decorated with glass beads and a simple cording. The color is gorgeous and the cut is so flattering. This is one of my favorites.
Metropolitian Museum of Art's collection. I tried to research how the pleats were made in these gowns and the best I can find is that Fortuny used a series of heated rollers to set the pleats. Apparently the pleats were not permanent and often the gowns had to be sent back to Fortuny to have the pleats reset if they got wet or if they became flattened out around the bum.
And this is probably my favorite of the dresses I've posted today. The blue satin silk is spectacular and this one is for sale. It can all be yours for $12,000. You may have guessed that this is not in the $25 Vintage budget, but a girl can dream.... It dates from the 1920s and I just love the belted waist.