Costume Institute Discovers Its Death Drive in Fall Exhibition

(Courtesy Metropolitan Museum of Art)

(Courtesy Metropolitan Museum of Art)

The first fall exhibition in seven years at the Met’s Costume Institute will feature Victorian and Edwardian mourning attire, which as a theme is a tad bit more of a bummer than, say, “Superheroes” or “Model as Muse,” but it’s probably safer to say that the Costume Institute is just more self-aware than you, poor reader. These are difficult times we live in, and life is basically just a long careening towards decay and death anyway, with intense feelings of fear for the great unknowable end that awaits us all buffered in between only by moments of such severe drudgery, of such unimaginable frustration at the hands of uglier, stupider people who still somehow seem to be better at life than you for no other reason than that they’re expert fakers who don’t possess the mindfulness to even consider how transient all this is and so can take the bad in sweet, ignorant stride and be less terrified of losing what little of the good there actually is–and so the fantasy of the decay and death actually becomes kind of easy to strive for (if only for the mostly mythological concept of peace and quiet) to such a great extent that maybe you even start thinking about your wake, and take perverse comfort in the image of all of your friends and family and ex-girlfriends making long speeches dressed in–what else?–their sexy Victorian and Edwardian mourning attire. “Death Becomes Her: A Century of Mourning Attire” opens Oct. 21.