by Margaret Goertzen on
November 15, 2006

Fortune arrives bound in Fortuny

Screenshot of article in Idaho Mountain Express with a picture of Pegge and title Fortune arrives bound in Fortuny

Screenshot of article in Idaho Mountain Express with a picture of Pegge and title Fortune arrives bound in FortunyHandbags are made from timeless fabrics
By Dana Dugan (on Idaho Mountain Express)

Say the words “one of a kind, handmade Italian fabrics,” and chances are only one name will come to mind: Fortuny. Spanish designer Mariano Fortuny’s eponymous company is world famous for eclectic designs and groundbreaking techniques. Still in use 90 years after its founder began his career, the Fortuny factory—housed in a former convent on Giudecca Island off Venice, Italy—still carefully guards his original process.

Over the decades, Fortuny fabrics have been much prized for their unique elegance. The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York used 1,000 yards of Fortuny for the walls in its European Renaissance Galleries. Conceived like paintings, the textiles are illuminated with color and layered with silver or gold, bringing an integral antiquity to the weave.

The Ketchum boutique Déjà Vu is one of only five shops in the country to sell Zenzara handbags, which are created using original Fortuny fabrics.

After collecting rare bolts and fragments of vintage Fortuny, California jewelry artist Pegge Goertzen decided to put practical use to them. She began Zenzara in Palm Springs, Calif., to create handbags made of the fabrics incorporating gemstones, antique crystals and pearls for handles and embellishment. Many of the handles can be removed and worn as necklaces.

“Hours of precise handwork is required to make just one piece, It’s a labor of love and it shows,” Goertzen said. “Women who have discovered the line are instantly captivated by how distinct the handbags are from any other handbag out there.”

Add all these elements and you have handbags that are considered collectibles, which is the reason they appealed to Suzy Hart, owner of Déjà Vu.
“Pegge came to the store,” she said. “I wasn’t there, so she left the bags. When I came in there were these Fortuny bags. These are gorgeous. Who wouldn’t want these? So I started carrying them.”

Carrying Fortuny, even if it is your handbag, is the epitome of good taste. Aficionados of textiles and vintage fabrics will gnash their teeth in envy. The only other place to find Fortuny is on lamps, made using the old styles. Fortuitously, Fortuny lamps are available at Bellissimo in Ketchum, one of the very few stores in the United States that carries the stunning work.