A horror story about fashion?

Book review: Fashion Victims

This photo shows how fashion pieces can alter the natural silhouette of the body.

Bohan Shen_沈伯韩 on Creative Commons

This photo shows how fashion pieces can alter the natural silhouette of the body.

Goodreads describes Fashion Victims: The Dangers of Dress Past and Present by Alison Matthews David as a “fabulously gory and gruesome” book, with a 4.28 / 5 rating. 

“From insidious murder weapons to blaze-igniting crinolines, clothing has been the cause of death, disease and madness throughout history, by accident and design,” Goodreads said. Are you hooked yet? 

Readers will enjoy a “fascinating journey through the lethal history of women’s, men’s and children’s dress, in myth and reality. Drawing upon surviving fashion objects and numerous visual and textual sources, encompassing louse-ridden military uniforms, accounts of the fiery deaths of Oscar Wilde’s half-sisters and dancer Isadora Duncan’s accidental strangulation by entangled scarf; the book explores how garments have tormented those who made and wore them, and harmed animals and the environment in the process. Vividly chronicling evidence from Greek mythology to the present day, Matthews David puts everyday apparel under the microscope and unpicks the dark side of fashion.”

Elyse Walters, one of the reviewers on the Goodreads site, gave the story five stars. She said that the book is “fascinating, frightening, and thought-provoking. It’s eye-opening with gorgeous photos…” It is a book that “focuses on the 19th and early 20th centuries in France, and the United Kingdom, and North America, a period in which fashionable clothing mechanically altered the natural silhouette of the body. Elegant people put their appearances above their health, with women tottering about in high heels, wide hoop skirts, and constricting corsets, while men sweltered and wore heavy hats, tight starched collars, and narrow boots that a modern Western or would not endure.”

If you are curious about the cruelties of fashion, this book will tantalize you in a variety of ways. “It’s pretty scary to think that the belt that you just bought might be radioactive.
Denim is a popular textile. A complex cocktail of chemicals is released into the water every time jeans are made,” Walters said.This book is unique and really interesting… We still have our challenges – as in the 19th and 20th centuries, but we’ve come a long way, baby!” She went on to tell David that it was a privilege to read her book.

Would you be interested in such stories? Is fashion your life and could it be your death? Check out this book and share your opinion with us in the comments section.

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