PICTURE: #12 IN TWELVE ACTS
SPECIAL GUEST INTERVIEW:
PATRICIA MEARS TALKS ABOUT HER 12th OUTFIT
What items did you use to compose this particular outfit?
A pale blue silk Delphos gown and a moss green printed velvet jacket, both by Fortuny. The pattern on the jacket was inspired by Hispano-Moresque woven silks dating back more than 1,000.
How did you arrive at the decision to compose such an outfit?
This ensemble, dating to the 1920s by my estimation, was probably put together by the original wearer; I bought it decades ago, along with a few other vintage pieces, from the same vendor.
Did you compose this outfit spontaneously or was it planned ahead of time?
I do not know. As noted above, a woman long ago made the decision when she composed this ensemble.
In a scale of 10, how pleased are you with this composition/outfit?
It is a historical treasure. It is a 10.
What roles do color, the fit, and integrity of fabric play in this particular outfit?
Mariano Fortuny was the master of color and print. Not really a fashion designer as his pleated Delphos gowns and T-shaped jackets never changed in the 30 years he created clothing, the pieces are a testament to Fortuny’s gift as a painter and alchemist. So, shape and fit are determined by the wearer’s own body. How modern!
How soon would you repeat/wear this same outfit again?
I hardly ever wear it. Once in a great while, I put on the dress and jacket at home for a few moments. It is just too fragile and precious to wear so it is conserved in a linen box. The only other person who has ever seen me wear these garments is my husband. The pieces prove that beautiful clothing need not be presented for public consumption.
There is perhaps a spiritual, emotional, intellectual or psychological aspect to what/how we dress. What is your personal experience in relation to this outfit?
The ensemble connects me to the past when an artisanal approach to dress was important in all aspects of life. Fortuny’s tea-gowns and at-home jacket were almost exclusively meant to be worn in the intimacy of a woman’s private spaces.