Wednesday, November 12, 2014

DEATH BECOMES HER

 
 
After three weeks of Christmas prep at work, the team and I headed to New York City on Monday for a special project at our flagship there. Afterwards we all headed over to the Met for there current exhibit. Almost goes hand in hand with my October post Tales of the Tombstones!!!!!
 
 
Death Becomes Her: A Century of Mourning Attire, opened October 20th at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  This exhibit, which explores mourning fashions of the 19th and 20th centuries, is The Costume Institute’s first fall exhibition in seven years, and is on view through February 1, 2015. Another great exhibit, that I'm sure Ms Wintour signed off on!!!!
 
 
It was a very cool exhibit. Mourning practices during the 19th century were more than a private grievance, they were a public ritual upholding status through fashionable style. Curated by the Costume Institute, Death Becomes Her examines the aesthetic convergence of customary black mourning attire with the stylish trends of the day. The burden of mourning fell mostly on women as men were expected to upkeep economic responsibilities. As a result the majority of the 30 looks on view are examples of upper to middle class women’s wear. Exhibited chronologically on a central stage in the Anna Wintour Costume Center, bright spotlights highlighted the multiple layers of textured fabrics used to skillfully craft a mournful yet fashionable ensemble. Projected onto the surrounding walls are anecdotes from diary entries, fashion magazines, and other historical documents of the the ensembles with personal narratives.
 
 
 
Time spent during each of three mourning phases varied by the level of devotion to a lost loved one. You know, sort like when Amy Winehouse died, and I went into mourning. I wore black for a whole year before switching to grey for months..... and then finally a deep purple!!!!!!!
 
 
When the death of a husband was met,  strict social expectations among the English and sometimes American elite were followed. During the Victorian era, a widow was expected to observe a year and a day of “full mourning,” during which she would refrain from “society” activities, veiled and wearing simple black dresses. After that, there was a nine-month period where she could drop the veil and incorporate small adornments, like jewelry or a trimmed hem. Then came “half-mourning,” where she could add grey, purple or a little white—this lasted three to six more months. If a woman did not observe proper mourning etiquette (especially if she was still young and pretty), she would usually be considered not only gauche, but downright libidinous.
 
Of course I would never do that!!!!This would be more the Mistress's mourning look....
 
 
 
If anyone gets a chance to go see this, it's very interesting to see. Tootles!

20 comments:

  1. Sounds macabre, but very cool to see. Plus the clothes are gorgeous.

    Death really does become her!

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  2. Interesting! Did they have any of the Victorian "mourning jewelry" made out of the hair of the deceased? Very popular back then.

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    1. There was indeed, I had to read the detailed card on it. I had had no idea about this custom.

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  3. Those are some very interesting clothes, but to be honest black is one of my favorite colors whether I'm mourning or not.

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    1. I like black too. And good thing, I have to wear black everyday!

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  4. geeze, what if you couldn't stand the spouse that died? you were expected to "mourn" the idiot? hell, I would throw a "thank the dogs and cats he's gone!" blowout party!

    I would NOT do this for current spouse, perhaps ex-spouse though...

    ;-)

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  5. Dang… those are some serious rules! I’d have been a terrible Victorian! Looks like a interesting show thought.

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  6. Boy, how times have changed. We sure do lack any traditions or a flair for dressing anymore. Looks like a lovely exhibit.

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  7. What an interesting exhibit! Who knew there were so many rules for mourning...especially tor women. Love your dress pick Mistress! :)

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  8. You never could have lived back then, you would show too much skin, and one major asset!!!! Very cool though.

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  9. That time period and the whole mourning thing always fascinated me. I will have to get there to see this. You must have loved this since you wear black everyday?

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  10. Very cool exhibit!!!! Am I also missing this when I'm there??? So you can't actually go to the Costume Institute on any random day while you're at the Met and see the clothing? There's no permanent collection on display in some special wing that I just somehow keep missing?

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    1. No Carmen, you didn't miss anything. The Costume Exhibit is only open for certain shows during the year, not not permanently open.

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  11. I swear, your always seeing something of interests. I had no idea the outfits were so elaborate.

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  12. William and I took a day to go see it followed by lunch. I too enjoyed seeing all the fashion and diary entries. Some people thought the exhibit in fashion, were worried and commented the exhibition might go “goth”. The progression of appropriate fabrics from mourning crape to corded silks, and the later introduction of color with shades of gray and mauve showed the modern goth aesthetic is darkly romantic with an emphasis on black and strong silhouettes, all of which are found rooted in the Victorian Age.It is known that the image of Queen Victoria wore black in the deep depression after Prince Albert’s death. Her Royal Highness’ kept this style in the rest of her life, which earned her the nickname “Widow of Windsor”

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  13. When I was in New York recently I went to see it also and thought the mourning gowns worn by Queen Victoria and Queen Alexandra, were very interesting to see. The idea of the stages of mourning fascinate me, but don't know I could do it.

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  14. Well, that is one mourning exhibit if I ever did see. Such big gowns.

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  15. What a fascinating showing!!!! I do think since Anna Wintours name went onto the hall, the exhibits have definitely gotten more extraordinary.

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Go ahead darling, tell me something fabulous!

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