|Afternoon dress, 1867, USA, Museum Purchase, P90.22.2|
If you visit the Metropolitan Museum's Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity exhibition, look closely as you'll likely spot the wonderful 1867 afternoon dress from the collection of The Museum at FIT. Loaned for the duration of the exhibition, which runs through May 27, the dress is made from white cotton piqué with black cording worked into a stylized variation of the "Austrian knot." Commonly worn by military officers, the Austrian knot was an applied design of twisted cord or braid used to embellish their uniforms. Here, the interlaced cord work accentuates the skirt's fullness, which is at the back of the dress, and the military motif has been incorporated into a scrolling geometric pattern, creating a contrasting border design characteristic of the period. A similar dress is depicted in Claude Monet's painting Women in the Garden (1866), installed adjacent to the MFIT dress.