Photo: Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
If the recent themes indicate any pattern, NYC's The Metropolitan Museum of Art's
Costume Institute Anna Wintour Costume Center themes have oscillated between the province of fashion nerds and something even your dad would get. Last year's Charles James exhibit followed the expansive Punk outing; 2011 and 2012 saw tributes to Alexander McQueen, Schiaparelli, and Prada, which followed a triple dose of superwomen, from the figurative (The Model As Muse and then American Woman) to the literal (2008's Superheroes).
The pendulum swings back this year with Death Becomes Her: A Century of Mourning Attire that will run from October 21 to February 1 — which is good news if you anticipate needing some last-minute Halloween costume ideas. This is the first fall exhibition in seven years, and the premiere one created under the newly renamed Anna Wintour Costume Center (no question who's running the show, now.)
Depressing? Yes, but it's good news for anyone who expects to learn a thing or two from a trip to the museum. On the exhibit's press release, the curator in charge of the costume institute, Harold Koda, says: "The veiled widow could elicit sympathy as well as predatory male advances. As a woman of sexual experience without marital constraints, she was often imagined as a potential threat to social order." The fact that this sounds like the premise of a new FX series is a good thing, as far as we're concerned.
Expect to see famous mourning wear, including black gowns from Queen Victoria and Queen Alexandra, and an overview of the dressing customs of cultures all over the world (spoiler — it's not all black). Follow along on Instagram and Twitter for updates leading up to the opening with #DeathBecomesHer — we're taking bets on who'll be first to tack on the additional hashtag, #IDie.