I have a theory about design and culture, that everything trickles down from the fashion world in some shape or form. Fashion pulls from life events to create formalized trends. What was once high-fashion becomes mainstream, reflecting and shaping how we live.
Have you noticed how fashion is going back to the Victorian days? As fashion designers are inspired by the clothing styles from back then, down to the delightfully fussy details, I also see us incorporating the same Victorian values into our lives. We are going back to having “home funerals”, “natural burial” and keeping ashes and hair with us. We are incorporating Victorian clothing and ways of life into our present.
I have had some women articulate to me their desire to bring back Widowhood. When we lose someone, the natural inclination is to want to be alone and mourn. Why not have clothing or items that let people know you are transitioning? Perhaps Scarlett O’Hara was on to something in the way she chose to transition through widowhood, at her own pace, not that dictated by society’s exacting standards.
Back in 2006 Alexander McQueen designed a line of clothing, “Widows of Culloden”, inspired by the widows of the battle in Scotland in which 1,500 to 2,000 Jacobites were killed. A most beautiful line of clothing, with a most spectacular ending to the fashion show. Kate Moss, as a representative ghost of the widows’ past, is actually a hologram haunting us with the beauty, memory and evident love of women who grieve. Here’s the mesmerizing ending…
Alexander McQueen described his collection:
“[This] collection is . . . romantic but melancholic and austere at the same time. It was gentle but you could still feel the bite of cold, the nip of the ice on the end of your nose. . . . With bustles and nipped waists, I was interested in the idea that there are no constraints on the silhouette. I wanted to exaggerate a woman’s form, almost along the lines of a classical statue.”
View this amazing collection of widow-wear in this video of the runway show.
Expect to see more Victorian influences as contemporary widows begin to emerge. We will keep you posted.
Read my past post on “Memorial Jewelry Returns From the Past.”
Here’s an interview with Carole Brody Fleet Founder of “Widows Who Wear Stilettos.”
A website “The Modern Mourner” features pretty Victorian funeral artifacts.