Buona Fortuny


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Trouvais Fortuny and 18th c textile pillows

Hello from your intermittent blogger! I am still in self imposed heavy editing mode. But that doesn’t mean I don’t stop to smell the roses…or gardenias…and enjoy my favorite pieces. A few years ago I was lucky to find a watery “Venetian lagoon blue” silk velvet Fortuny gown. Old…of course. Very early and without a label…but clearly authentic. Ladies would send their pleated silk gowns back to Fortuny after sitting would eventually press their pleats flat…and he would use his secret process to re-pleat the silk and send it back to his clients. The entirely pleated Delphos gowns were light enough to inspire Venetian Murano beads to weight them, and could be coiled into a small round box for storage. Mariano Fortuny (more here) used proprietary techniques for both pleating and hand dyeing and stenciling his silks and silk velvets. The hand created texture and colors, and even the slight wear of time at the edges, elevate the dresses to a piece of art. Trouvais Fortuny with 18th textilesForuny’s father was both a celebrated painter, and ardent collector of 18th c and earlier textiles…and early textiles clearly influence Mariano Fortuny’s work. Here is a one of my favorite 18th century pieces…a French silk satin “Bizarre” patterned cape, with large swirls of stylized peach pomegranates. So futuristic…and exuberant…from three hundred years ago. If you study Fortuny patterns you can see the reference to 16th-18th century design. Trouvais Fortuny

The fabulous pleats…waves of teal blue…Trouvais Antique Fortuny

The sleeves and edges of the gown tied and set with Murano beads…

When we visited Italy last Fall we started in Venice…and dropped by the Fortuny Palazzo. It was closed while we were there, but you can check their website here if you want to plan a trip around an exhibit. Trouvais Fortuny PalazzoTrouvais Fortuny in VeniceTrouvais Fortuny Venice


A slideshow from Venice…too much wonderfulness to capture it all…

Hope you are enjoying your fall…and Buona Fortuna on your own projects!

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18th century Villa Centofinestre


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Trouvais Villa Centofinestre

Last September we stayed at Villa Centofinestre for several days.. an early 18th c villa in the remote Le Marche area of Italy. A long winding drive down from sunny and well farmed Tuscany, through the huge misty Apennine mountains and into the remoteness of Italy’s eastern coastline. Let me just say we were primed for the bustle of Rome after a few days in this quiet wilderness. The Villa was 15 miles from the beaches and Roman ruins of Ancona, and the coastline drive was infinitely less touristy than all that we had experienced from Portofino to Amalfi in previous trips. Back at the villa, it was magical to be the sole inhabitants…besides the caretakers…having the entire top floor to ourselves. In the photos below you can see the dawn slowly breaking as viewed from our balcony. In the formal rooms below, the Venetian glass chandelier took center stage in a fabulous ground floor ballroom…under it’s incredible coffered ceiling with inset gold rosettes…my favorite feature. IMG_4310More photos on the Villa Centofinestre website here as well as a montage at the end of the post of my own favorite views of ceiling frescos, architectural features, the beautiful robin’s egg blue of their painted doors and even some lovely ruins in the Villa’s own backyard, covered in wisteria. The major ground floor rooms are opened up for wedding parties and curious villa guests. 

I am keeping very busy this Summer, up to my elbows in closets inside, and shoulder to shoulder with the bees outside as I clip more than 50 lavender bushes. As much as I love collecting, I enjoy resorting and letting go. In the garden as well, sometimes the wild tangle of beauty needs to be pulled back. With the drought in California, I am prioritizing:  Lavender, antique roses, the espaliered apple trees, and a 12 year old Gardenia topiary tree that offers me 2 or 3 blooms a day. More on my lavender crop soon!