Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Guest Post: Death Becomes Her: A Century of Mourning Attire

A funeral is not the event that is usually captured by some Nashville photographer and styled up by some French artist. Usually, a funeral and in general death is ignored by the big public. However, art has always been interested in this macabre phenomenon. This year, The Costume Institute’s exhibition called Death Becomes Her: A Century of Mourning Attire will premiere in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Anna Wintour Costume Center. Starting on October 21st, the exhibition will show us the concept of death fashion, especially it will center on the mourning style of the 19th and early 20th centuries. The visitors are going to see and admire 30 pieces, many of which will be presented to the world for the first time. The whole shocking exhibition is going to reveal the giant impact of the sad phenomenon in the fashion of the past centuries.

Of course, black is the dominating color of all the ensembles in the Death becomes Her: A century of the Mourning Attire exhibition. Black is an absolutely fashionable color, but it is also a reminder of the darker side of our existence. Harold Koda, the curator in charge of the Costume Institute and Jessica Regan, the assistant curator are the ones in charge of the exhibition. Also, in an interview they mentioned that the collection presented in the exposition are all about veiled widows, which were always objectified as erotic characters, over the centuries. The potential threat brought by a widow to the society made the mourning gowns darker, but the attitude was and always will be a dramatic one, full of mystery. The whole exhibition is basically all about how fashion as an art was influenced by grief. A concept that at first may seem a little bit too sad, but as you think about it, you just feel the desire to explore the whole thing. The exhibition will include gowns worn by Queen Victoria and Queen Alexandra. Also, there will be a big number of jewelry and accessories that go together with the mourning outfits.

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