From October 21st though February 1st, The Costume Institute of The Metropolitan Museum of Art will be showcasing its first—in seven years—fall exhibition (and just in time for Halloween). The display, entitled Death Becomes Her: A Century of Mourning Attire, will be a retrospective of mourning fashions from 1815 to 1915.
The collection is comprised of approximately thirty pieces, including jewelry and children’s outfits. The primarily black ensembles reveal the somber, simple outfits of the early mourning periods, while the late 1800s brought about more fashion-conscious attire for families of the deceased. Also worth noticing from the exhibition is the gradual change in colors (from black to mauve to soft gray) and fabrics (no-nonsense mattes to shinier silks) in the days following the initial mourning period—known as “half mourning.”
All in all, the exhibit is reminding us that when in mourning, one should look and dress appropriately out of respect. “Don’t wear T-shirts to funerals, that’s our message,” Harold Koda, curator of the exhibit, told WWD, “It’s about memorializing. Of course, some of it is sad, but a really important element to mourning dress is the signification that you are remembering someone.”
Death Becomes Her: A Century of Mourning Attire will be showcased in the Anna Wintour Costume Center from October 21st, 2014 through February 1st, 2015.