Wearing all black may be de rigueur in New York or Paris, but the girl wearing all black wasn’t always so cool. “As a woman of sexual experience without marital constraints, she was often imagined as a potential threat to the social order,” says Harold Koda, curator of the Met’s Costume Institute, about the black-clad mourner of yore. Thirty ensemble pieces depict how high fashion trickled into one of the most codified and controversial etiquettes in Death Becomes Her: A Century of Mourning Attire. The architectural dresses will no doubt share too eerie of a resemblance to their own shadows, for in those days, that’s what a woman became after her husband’s death. The exhibit comes with a promise from the Met to produce a new fashion exhibit every fall and spring at the Anna Wintour Costume Center. We certainly don’t object to that.

Oct. 21-Feb. 1, 10 a.m., 2014

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