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Could this Dress be Fortuny or Gallenga?

Discussion in 'PUBLIC Vintage Fashion - Ask Questions Get Answers' started by helenheven, Jun 2, 2011.

  1. helenheven

    helenheven Registered Guest

    Could this 1920s Purple Silk Velvet Dress Stenciled in Gold possibly be the work of Fortuny or Gallenga? No labels found of course... The print is very Gothic, almost architectural. There is a beautiful pleated panel inset in front that's an incredible burnished gold color and the seams are magnificently finished with gold tape! I apologize for the quality of the photos - the close-up looks far more garish than the actual garment does! This seems like it might have come from Paris in the 1920's - any help from someone who might recognize this pattern or technique would be greatly appreciated! Thanks
  2. lizzietree

    lizzietree Registered Guest

    Golly gosh thats a stunner! I'm struggling to see from the pics because i can't enlarge them at all but it looks like Devore (with an accent over the e) to me. I know what you mean about it having that Gallenga kind of look to it! I can;t say yes or no, but it looks like a beautifully made piece. I would hazzard a guess to it being mid twenties when dress lengths reached thier shortest.
    Last year i helped to put up an exhibtion of 1920s dresses, there was one that was a very similar shape in the exhibition that was definitely from 1925 (with a similar lame panel too)
  3. dorotheascloset

    dorotheascloset Registered Guest

    Look along all the seams for any stenciling at the selvage of the textile.

  4. Jonathan

    Jonathan VFG Member

    My bet would be that it's an Italian textile because it is similar to what they used, but the dress stylistically doesn't look anything like either of their work.
  5. helenheven

    helenheven Registered Guest

    Thanks for your responses - Angela: I didn't see anything in the seams in the way of stenciling... any other clues to look for? I can see where there possibly might have been a label at one time.

    To lizzietree: I don't know Devore´- was he/she a Parisian couturier? I would love to see a photo of the 1925 dress from the exhibition - was that dress designed by Devore?
  6. bycin

    bycin Guest

    My heart skips a beat...that fabric is to-die-for.
  7. joules

    joules VFG Member

    In a nutshell, here is a description of devore:
    "Devore is a French word that describes the chemical process that is used to “Burn out” the thick velvet pile leaving the sheer chiffon like silk background and raised velvet pattern. A chemical is laid out onto the velvet in a pattern and then heated, this process causes the velvet to be burned out fabric where ever the chemical is applied, leaving the treated area transparent and the non-treated area remains raised as plush velvet."

    As you have described, the textile of your dress, appears to be a stencil process, with gold metallic, rather than devore.
  8. joules

    joules VFG Member

  9. TrickVintage

    TrickVintage Registered Guest

    wow, that is incredible !
  10. helenheven

    helenheven Registered Guest

    Thank you Joules! The Gallenga you referenced is the exact same pattern as my dress - so I guess I may safely assume this dress is from the same designer!
  11. joules

    joules VFG Member

  12. Jonathan

    Jonathan VFG Member

    Its not the same pattern. Both are based on a Renaissance textile and are possibly made by the same textile manufacturer but you can't call your dress a Gallenga because the materials are similar. Gallenga was a dress designer not a textile manufacturer and Italian textiles were sold around the world and similar Rennaisance patterns were made and are still being made today. Your dress is very nice but looks nothing like a Gallenga in style.
  13. helenheven

    helenheven Registered Guest

    The link that Joules posted has a lot of information about Maria Monaci Gallenga and says that she hand stenciled her own work. Additionally, the piece states that "The metallic pigment does not tarnish or flake off, thanks to a special formula devised by Gallenga's husband, a Professor at the University of Rome." Finally, it appears that Gallenga usually signed her work somewhere in the design, in the same gold she used for the stenciling. An example of the signature is shown if you clink on the link. The design looks identical to the one on my dress, as does the quality & texture of the gold. My photos aren't very good and I'm having a little trouble getting the angle and the light just right so the pattern is clearly visible.
  14. joules

    joules VFG Member

    Far be it from me, and as Jonathan has stated (and I agree) the styles are worlds apart.

    The pattern does seem to have some slight variations from the one in the link, if I'm not mistaken.
    This surely is intriguing.
  15. helenheven

    helenheven Registered Guest

    This is not my area of expertise and I defer to the experts in this forum, but I found another link here - http://www.vintagetextile.com/new_page_70.htm with another Gallenga gown and again it is stated that she was a textile artist . "While Gallenga's gowns varied slightly in the shape of neckline or sleeve, she remained true to her proprietary technique for stenciling on silk velvet. She used up to nine tones of silver and gold paint to achieve the ombré shadings evocative of antique fabrics. In the subtle pattern (inspired by Gothic ironwork), birds, hounds, and floral motifs frolic inside pointed ovals." This dealer seems to be a collector of Gallenga's work and seems to know a lot about her but of course, she could be wrong. Obviously my dress is stylistically different, but if this stenciling is a hallmark of Gallenga's work, then it seems that while she may not have been a 'textile manufacturer" she was a textile artist and much more than just a "dress designer". Again, I could be wrong!
  16. joules

    joules VFG Member

    You're entirely correct on that account, and it is amazing to try and imagine her advanced techniques with textiles. A pure artist, whose work is nothing short of awe-inspiring.
  17. Jonathan

    Jonathan VFG Member

    My mistake in suggesting she used another manufacturer's material, however, she was not the only person stencilling velvet in Italy in the 1920s. She was more like a Zandra Rhodes of her time who designed dresses to showcase the textile. Your dress may be made from Gallenga stencilled velvet but the dress style is wrong for what she made in dresses. I think its possible someone cut up a Gallenga to make that dress in c. 1927 or 1928. Gallenga didn't cut into the designs - she used medieval styles that required the minimum of cutting into the textile. If it's not signed I would be very wary of calling the dress a Gallenga, but you could suggest the dress is possibly made from a Gallenga stencilled velvet.
  18. Catbooks1940s

    Catbooks1940s VFG Member

    vintagetextile is an excellent site, owned by someone very knowledgeable and i'd kill for her inventory!

    but what jonathan is saying is that there were others at the same period who produced beautiful stenciled textiles. while gallenga did them as well, she was primarily a clothing designer, and you can't look at just one aspect of a garment to determine its provenance.
  19. vertugarde

    vertugarde Alumni

    Maria Gallenga's dresses were often typically tabard in shape full length and short. A strong PreRaphaelite influence. The Metropolitan Museum has several in it's collection:


    Could you show us some close-ups of the construction? Also you say there might be an area where a label/signature might have been. Perhaps you could show that area.

    Thank you.
  20. Catbooks1940s

    Catbooks1940s VFG Member

    ack, i didn't realize jonathan had already posted.

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