In The Frame
In The Frame
In The Frame

A Gothic revival at Wadsworth Atheneum

by The Art Newspaper  |  11 March 2016
When the costume historian Lynne Bassett was bouncing around ideas for a show on early 19th-century clothing, she realised that the best place for it to end was the present, “with a look at how Romanticism and the Romantic aesthetic keep on cycling around again in fashion”. The result is Gothic to Goth: Romantic Era Fashion and Its Legacy, now on view at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford, Connecticut (until 10 July).


  • Vampire suit (1998) designed by Jean Paul Gaultier. Collection of Richard Patrick Anderson; Ensemble styled by Richard Patrick Anderson
  • Woman’s mourning dress (1857-60) and bonnet (1860), Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Gift of Miss Harriet S. Smith
  • Dress, 2007, design by Alexander McQueen. Photo: Walter Silver © 2012 Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA
The show first looks at examples of clothing from 1810-60, which borrow heavily from the past—contextualised through art, furniture, decorative objects and literature—and then at contemporary Goth and Steampunk fashions. Jean-Paul Gaultier’s 1998 Vampire suit exudes a Romantic aesthetic, while the era’s preoccupation with the haunted past is expressed in Alexander McQueen’s Autumn/Winter 2007 collection, named for his ancestor killed in the Salem Witch Trials and represented here by a beaded velvet and satin dress from the Wadsworth’s own collection—fitting for a New England show. The main supporters of the show are The Coby Foundation, Ltd, The Costume & Textile Society of the Wadsworth Atheneum and the Stockman Family Foundation.

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