MARIA GALLENGA + HENRIETTE NIGRIN
The shoppable collection for this gallery is dedicated to Maria Monaci Gallenga and Henriette Nigrin (sometimes spelled Negrin). Why not simply Mariano Fortuny, Nigrin's husband and easily the best-known of the three? Because Gallenga bios always seem a little too quick to mention her husband’s hand in her work, and Fortuny bios regularly omit Nigrin entirely. (This despite ample evidence she was much more than just Fortuny's muse and wife - indeed, Nigrin co-holds the patent for the pleating process used to create the iconic Delphos gown.)
True, Gallenga has received plenty of accolades over the years, but as researcher Silvia Bañares concludes in her Datatèxtil biography of Nigrin: “Perhaps the time has come for history to acknowledge the true merits of this influential inventor and textile creator; for Henriette to finally emerge from her husband’s shadow.”
So. Gallenga and Nigrin it is.
But back to the collection itself. Both women were innovators with dyes and block-printing, using these techniques to stunning effect on velvet, silk and cotton garments, adorning them with gold and silver Medieval, Grecian, Middle-Eastern, Asian and Celtic motifs. Whenever possible, I've tried to wrangle vintage and antique garments that hew closely to the originals, if not the originals themselves. Beyond that, I'll be continuously re-stocking with the three P's in mind: Prints, Patterns and Pleats. As with all HofW special collections, keep checking back regularly for new additions to the Gallenga/Nigrin clubhouse.
A stunning Gallenga textile from the Art Institute of Chicago; source: Wiki Commons
Anna Piaggi and Karl Lagerfed by Renato Grignaschi, 1978; source: i-D
Isadora Duncan, illustrated by Georges Barbier, in a dress resembling the Fortuny Delphos she often wore, 1917; source: Pinterest
A cool, zoomable sketch of Gallenga designs from the digital libraries at FIT