Art & Culture

Death Becomes Her: A Century of Mourning Attire

Death Becomes Her - Mourning Attire

A new exhibition opening today at the Metropolitan Museum of Art has me wanting to hightail it down to NYC. Death Becomes Her: A Century of Mourning Attire is the Costume Institute’s first fall exhibition in seven years and looks to be a cracking good one at that.

Exploring the evolution of mourning fashion between the years of 1815 to 1915, the show is a fascinating look at how women’s fashion impacted bereavement rituals. The exhibition includes mourning gowns worn by Queen Victoria and Queen Alexandra, with several ensembles being exhibited for the first time including a “silk chiffon mourning gown that last saw light when Queen Alexandra of England wore it in 1902” (Flirting with the DarksideThe New York Times).

Examples of restrained simplicity are shown alongside those with ostentatious ornamentation. The predominantly black clothes are set off against a stark white background and amplified with historic photographs and daguerreotypes.

Mourning Dress DetailAmerican Mourning ensembleMourning Evening GownDeath Becomes Her: A Century of Mourning Attire is on now October 21st, 2014 through to February 1st, 2015.

And if you’re around in NYC for Halloween, the Met’s Friday Evening Gallery Event with interactive experiences from Edgar Allan Poe readings to spooky photo booths or sketching in conjunction with the exhibition is a great alternative for some morbid culture – Victorian costumes encouraged!

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3 Comments

  • Reply
    'mach
    October 23, 2014 at 9:41 am

    Acres and acres of black silk crêpe, oh my heavens!

    • Reply
      Jamie
      October 23, 2014 at 4:10 pm

      I thought you might like this exhibition 😉 I had a part of a beautiful Victorian mourning ensemble top, and it was so delicate and incredible. I wore it out as a teenager for a Death from Sandman costume and that was the last of it sadly :/

  • Reply
    'mach
    October 25, 2014 at 6:11 am

    On the flipside, even left in your closet it would probably have fallen apart. I think Gaiman would approve 😉

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