Mourning ensemble, 1870-72, American, Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009; Gift of Martha Woodward Weber, 1930. 

I am so pleased that the Costume Institute at The Metropolitan Museum of Art has once again presented a fall exhibition and that the lower level galleries are firmly back in use! Death Becomes Her: A Century of Mourning Attire is a fantastic installation and felt very much to me like a total work of art, with gorgeous period music in the background and a 19th-century female silhouette slowly moving along the wall. The years considered are 1815 to 1915 and the dresses are marvelous. I especially loved seeing a mourning dress worn by Queen Victoria herself which, of course, gave one a very real sense of her stature. There are three paintings on silk, one of which is a portrait with embroidery, that I found rather enchanting. But my favorite pieces, however, were the jewelry, stunning and so romantic — rings and necklaces with locks of hair or miniature portraits that quite intimately honored the departed.   

Death Becomes Her: A Century of Mourning Attire is on view through February 1, 2015.