Inspirational Illustrations: Tina Chow in Fortuny

Tina Chow in one of her seventeen or eighteen Fortuny dresses: black pleated silk with laced sleeves and black and white beadwork, dating from just before 1920.

Tina Chow in one of her seventeen or eighteen Fortuny dresses: black pleated silk with laced sleeves and black and white beadwork, dating from just before 1920.

Another one to add to the pile of ‘liking vintage is nothing new or extraordinary’ is this illustration and the article it accompanies entitled: “Come up and see my Schiaparellis”, promoting an upcoming Christie’s sale. I have plucked some choice sections, but the whole article is brilliant.

“Once an area in which museums could bid uncontested for period clothes, dealers and private customers now more or less consistently outbid institutional collectors and have pushed prices to dizzy heights which inflation alone could not have done.

“The collector pur sang, the ideal, is Tina Chow, wife of the restauranteur. Her fan club is led by cheerleader Madeleine Ginsburg: ‘Tina Chow buys Fortunys. Her husband loves her to wear them, and she takes impeccable care of the dresses… We know Mrs Chow loves the dresses as we do, and she cares about them and cares for them. Poor Mrs Chow, when she goes to parties in one of her Fortuny dresses she only stands up and does not even eat’.”

“[dress as a subject] seems, 99 times out of 100, to attract the crackpot, the misguided or the downright perverted. Many is the museum whose shoe or underwear collection has been transformed overnight by the demise of some lonely soul whose solace was in rooms or drawers full of leather and lingerie.” – Quote from Roy Strong

“It is the passion to collect old clothes. Not rag picking, you understand, but Balenciagas and Vionnets and Jean Muirs and that sort of thing.”

Nice to see Jean Muir was already being talked about in the same breath as Vionnet et al, even as early as 1978.

Illustration by Angela Landels. Scanned by Miss Peelpants from Harpers and Queen, December 1978.

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One Comment on “Inspirational Illustrations: Tina Chow in Fortuny”

  1. iODyne says:

    in 1976 on the stair landings at the Knightsbridge Mr Chow, some of her Fortunys were displayed on mannekins. Society has changed a lot since then. About that time, US designer Mary McFadden made gowns very similar, and they were available at Giorgios in Beverly Hills. It’s changed a lot since then too.


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