Gothic to Goth: Romantic Era Fashion & Its Legacy is the first exhibition to fully explore the Romantic era as a formative period in costume history. Presenting historic garments alongside literary works, paintings, prints, and decorative arts, the exhibition examines how European fashions from the Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque eras influenced and inspired new styles created between 1810 and 1860.
Gothic to Goth illustrates how early nineteenth century costume—just like fine and decorative art, architecture, interior design, literature, and music—moved away from the order and rationality of the previous half-century to embrace imagination and emotion, originality and vision, and individuality and subjectivity as guiding principles. The exhibition culminates with a look at recent Goth and Steampunk fashions, revealing their roots in the rich imagination and aesthetic of Romanticism.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website
Whether you go or not, the exhibition catalog, Gothic to Goth: Romantic Era Fashion and Its Legacy, examines the influences on women’s clothing from 1810 1860, alongside fine and decorative arts of the period, and how Romanticism forms the roots of today’s Goth and Steampunk fashion movements. The Romantic movement rejected Enlightenment reason, and embraced instead the imagination and the unknown. Costume of the early-19th century integrated the elements of history, imagination, religion, and even landscape central to the Romantic sensibility.