If you happen to live in NYC or will be visiting the city between now and February 2015, you should check out the new exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. “Death Becomes Her” looks at the evolution of mourning garments through the 19th and 20th centuries, for example a mourning parasol made of silk, wood, and tortoise shell and a mourning hat made of black straw, black silk, plastic, and metal. The thematic exhibit is organized chronologically and features mourning dress mainly from 1815 to 1915, primarily from The Costume Institute’s collection, including mourning gowns worn by Queen Victoria and Queen Alexandra.
There are also many photographs and daguerreotypes of famous funerals from that time period. Looking at all this historic funeral attire makes me wonder when people stopped getting so dressy for death? I mean, my cousin wore a baseball cap and jeans to his brother’s funeral. And I’m not even going to start on my other cousin who was texting through the whole thing. Bring back the elaborate mourning clothes…and the dramatic weeping!