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Delicate miniature roses adorn the fabric of this dress, while single poppies are present on the lace portions. This expensive fabric was produced in Lyon, France. The elaborate surface decoration was achieved by a combination of printed warps (chiné), woven bows and swags, and then the fabric was finished with a watered silk (moiré) effect. The sweeping bows and swags are further embellished with narrow bands of gathered ribbons at the bottom of the skirt.
By the 1890s, bustles and highly structured dresses had been replaced by the slim hourglass silhouette. Long corsets were worn to flatten the top part of the skirts, while the fullness at the bottom helped to create a mermaid look. This gown was worn by India Harris, wife of Addison C. Harris, Ambassador to Austria from 1899 to 1901.
G. & E. Spitzer, Vienna, Austria; probably purchased at the aetiler or dressshop in Austria, by Mrs. Addison (India) C. Harris, Indianapolis; given to Indianapolis Museum of Art, June 21, 1932.