DEATH BECOMES HER AT THE MET COSTUME INSTITUTE, #34 THREAD CULT
by Daughter Fish
Sometimes, living in New York City can feel a little like a dream. Most of the time I’m cloaked in my jaded, hard-won, nothing-impresses-me New Yorker exterior, but every once in a while my inner small-town girl bursts out to say “This is AMAZING! Pinch me!” That’s always the feeling I get when I walk through the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It feels not quite real to have this treasure trove of antiquity and art right up the street (or, in my case, up the street and across a big park). My favorite exhibits, not surprisingly, are those by the Met’s Costume Institute.
When I saw that the institute was staging a new show all about Victorian and Edwardian bereavement garments, I immediately knew I wanted to do a Thread Cult episode about the exhibit. Yesterday, I toured the show—which is beautiful and creepy and perfectly timed for Halloween and Day of the Dead—and I spoke with Jessica Regan, co-curator of the exhibit Death Becomes Her. It’s a fascinating interview, filled with great details about the way the silhouettes of women’s clothing shifted dramatically between 1815 and 1915 and the elaborate (and aspirational) customs surrounding mourning clothing during the period.
Photo courtesy of the Met’s Costume Institute.