The evolution of funeral dress codes will be examined in a new exhibition at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, opening on 21st October this year.
Hot off the back of the Costume Institute’s (somewhat sunnier) Charles James couture retrospective, ‘Death Becomes Her: A Century of Mourning Attire’ will showcase 30 examples of sombre dress. Rather than an archive of chic LBDs or 'iconic' funeral images, the collection will focus on the period between 1815 to 1915 and include gowns worn by Queens Victoria and Alexandra.
"For years, I have wanted to do a silhouette show, something that looks at the most exaggerated elements of the fashionable silhouette, which, in the 19th century, takes really extraordinary transformations," said curator Harold Koda.
"[We] said, 'Why don't we do a show with all of our black dresses on the theme of mourning? It's the intersection of this really sobering and quite poignant narrative about dealing with grief, and at the same time a really chic fashion story."
"The predominantly black palette of mourning dramatizes the evolution of period silhouettes and the increasing absorption of fashion ideals into this most codified of etiquettes.”
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