A show of mourning clothing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art reveals how high fashion dramatically presented itself at 19th-century funerals.
All-black attire hasn’t always been reserved for coffee shop poets and champagne-sipping fashionistas. Up until the turn of the 20th century, it was almost exclusively a sign of mourning: women publicly showing respect for the loss of a loved one.
But, somewhere between the fury of the industrial revolution and women’s liberation, the tradition itself died out, leaving only a brief implication that lingers in graveyards and funeral services with fleeting significance.
Now, the Metropolitan Museum of Art is revisiting the trend, taking visitors back to black with the debut of the Anna Wintour Costume Institute’s first fall exhibition in seven years. Death Becomes Her: A Century of Mourning Attire, which opens [Tuesday, October 21st], explores the custom of mourning dress from 1815 to 1915.
During World War II, Josephine Baker served with the French Red Cross and was an active member of the French resistance movement. Using her career as a cover Baker became an intelligence agent, carrying secret messages written in invisible ink on her sheet music. She was awarded the Croix de Guerre, and received a Medal of the Resistance in 1946. In 1961 she received the highest French honor, the Legion d’Honneur awarded by then President Charles de Gaulle.
Our loss, U.S.A….
If you don’t admire the shit out of J. Baker, who was also pretty openly bisexual and adopted NINETEEN children in addition to the badassery mentioned above, I want you to go sit in the corner and think about your life choices.
um she was also a huge civil rights activist and her refusal to perform for segregated audiences at major clubs that were fallin over themselves to book her helped de-segregate vegas performance venues