I had the privilege of attending the press preview at the Metropolitan Museum of Art's 2nd fashion exhibit this year "Death Becomes Her: A Century of Mourning Attire" and it did not disappoint. I can't remember the last exhibit at the Met that I did not enjoy. Let's take a peek, shall we?
This Costume Institute exhibition explores the aesthetic development and cultural implications of mourning fashions of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Approximately thirty ensembles, many of which are being exhibited for the first time, reveal the impact of high-fashion standards on the sartorial dictates of bereavement rituals as they evolved over a century.
The thematic exhibition is organized chronologically and features mourning dress from 1815 to 1915, primarily from The Costume Institute's collection, including mourning gowns worn by Queen Victoria and Queen Alexandra. The calendar of bereavement's evolution and cultural implications is illuminated through women's clothing and accessories, showing the progression of appropriate fabrics from mourning crape to corded silks, and the later introduction of color with shades of gray and mauve.
The Anna Wintour Costume Center's Carl and Iris Barrel Apfel Gallery orients visitors to the exhibition with fashion plates, jewelry, and accessories. The main Lizzie and Jonathan Tisch Gallery illustrates the evolution of mourning wear through high-fashion silhouettes. 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.
Curator Harold Koda showed a collection of 30 antique bereavement garments, which dated from 1815 to 1915 and show the full spectrum of the mourning process—from beginning (a time when mourners would stick to matte black fabrics) to end (when those who had lost a loved one began to reintroduce color and shine into their wardrobes). The end designs were gorgeous!
I also felt these black designs were very beautiful as well, so much detail to each one.
The exhibit room was very dark, and I was trying different camera settings the whole time. This shot came out rather cool, given the subject of the exhibit. It gave me kind of a ghostly feeling!
Love the hat here, as well as the whole outfit
More detail for you here on this gold and black dress, such a beauty
Queen Victoria herself here, another very detailed gown, lots of bows and lace.
The Curator, Harold Koda, being interviewed about the exhibit
You can really see the detail here in the back view of this gown. Incredible!
I just loved these gloves, I would wear them today in a heartbeat!
Even designs for men and children were shown in the exhiibt.
The just over-the-top gowns when they came out of their mourning period are amazing!
Love the pearls on the neck here!
Death Becomes Her—the Costume Institute's first fall exhibit in seven years—will be on display through February 1, 2015.
Stay tuned for Part 2 which shows some of the jewelry and accessories from the exhibit!
"...a perfect little black cocktail dress of a show..."—Vanity Fair