Woman's Afternoon Dress and Hat
Designed by Paul Poiret, French, 1879 - 1944
Paul Poiret was the most significant and copied Paris fashion designer of the early twentieth century. His inventive and often extreme designs were by the early 1920s more conservative. This tailored afternoon dress and hat pay homage to the discovery of King Tutankhamen's tomb in 1922. The colors draw from an Egyptian palette, and the motifs are likely based on plates in nineteenth-century design books such as those by the English designer and writer Owen Jones. The hat, which references the decoration on Egyptian capitals, was made by Madeleine Panizon, a milliner who worked with Poiret. The ensemble was worn by Vera White, an artist who with her husband, Samuel S. White III, formed a major collection of modern French paintings now at the Museum. Helena Rubinstein was photographed in 1923 wearing an identical dress in advertisements for her cosmetics in Vogue and Harper's Bazaar.