27 June 2016

Review: Fashion Victims - The Dangers of Dress Past and Present by Alison Matthews David

* Copy courtesy of Bloomsbury Publishing *

Fashion Victims - The Dangers of Dress Past and Present by Alison Matthews David takes a detailed look at fashion items responsible for death, disease and accidents throughout history.

The book is meticulously researched and cleverly broken down into separate chapters, each one denoted by colour coded page edges which make for an attractive hardback edition.

Some of the chapters include:
- Poisonous Pigments (Chapter 3)
- Entangled and Strangled (Chapter 5)
- Inflammatory Fabrics (Chapter 6)

Great chapter headings aren't they? I enjoyed learning about dangerous dyes, the deadly mercury used to make hats, hobble skirts, the arsenic contained in green garments in the 1800s, ballerinas who burned to death but refused to change their stage dress and so much more.

The research covers both the garment makers (the dyers, dressmakers etc.) and the wearers, exposing the diseases, accidents and deaths attributed to both sides all in the name of fashion.

The following excerpt from the blurb sets the scene for what you'll find in Fashion Victims:

From insidious murder weapons to blaze-igniting crinolines, clothing has been the cause of death, disease and madness throughout history, by accident and design. Clothing is designed to protect, shield and comfort us, yet lurking amongst seemingly innocuous garments we find hats laced with mercury, frocks laden with arsenic and literally 'drop-dead gorgeous' gowns.
Wow, right?

Fashion Victims - The Dangers of Dress Past and Present is an excellent reference for students and academics as well as readers interested in fashion and/or history.

My rating = ****

Carpe Librum!

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