Death Becomes Her, A Century of Mourning Attire - Neiman Marcus
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Death Becomes Her, A Century of Mourning Attire

Alexandra Evjen

October 21, 2014

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Just in time for All Hallows’ Eve, Death Becomes Her: A Century of Mourning Attire opens October 21 at The Met’s Anna Wintour Costume Center. The exhibit explores the strictly mandated funeral garb and mourning rituals of the 19th and early 20th century.

Mourning Ensemble, 1870-1872.
Mourning Ensemble, 1870-1872.

During that era, the dictates of dress and style were as much a part of the grieving process as the funeral rites themselves. While Victorian and Edwardian women wore black for almost two years after a husband’s or child’s passing, some never wore color again. And like it is today, their dress became an avenue of self-expression. Beyond demure dresses, the mourning shrouds elevated to a work of art: intricate lace veils, corseted dresses, flowing trains, ornate adornments.

Henriette Favre (French) Evening Dress, 1902 Worn by Queen Alexandra (British, born Denmark, 1844–1925)
Henriette Favre (French)
Evening Dress, 1902
Worn by Queen Alexandra (British, born Denmark, 1844–1925)

On display in this exhibit: several never-before-exhibited ensembles, including the mourning gowns of Queen Victoria and Queen Alexandra. Haunting history charged with beauty—on display through January 2015.

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