Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Book Review - Fashion Victims The Dangers of Dress Past and Present


      When I first spotted 'Fashion Victims : The Dangers of Dress Past and Present', the cover illustration just grabbed me. With it's whimsical macabre dancing woman to the raised red eyes.  I knew I just had to have it.

Fashion Victims, written by Alison Matthews David is about the history of women, men and children's clothing.  How fashion harmed the maker and the wearer.  Covering the time periods 1700's to the 1930's. However there are mentions of recent events, where fashion has harmed the maker or wearer.

The book is divided into categories, each chapter covering a different aspect of fashion that caused disease, accidents and even death.  Each chapter is illustrated with beautiful photos, cartoons and illustrations.  Davids presents interesting facts with anecdotes and illustrations.

Davids doesn't hold back on the explaining how the
workers were treated badly, especially the
women and children. To illustrate how badly workers were treated here is a chromolithograph of damaged hands, the effects of working with arsenic to make artificial flowers.

Reading the chapter 'Poisonous Pigments : Arsenical Greens' was fascinating, however I did have to laugh at myself.  I was wearing green at the time, when reading the chapter, one became a little paranoid.

Fashion Victims is a valuable resource. Each chapter has excellent detailed, EndNotes. The reader has the opportunity to explore more, if they wish.

Fashion Victims is such an amazing book, it really took me on a journey of the past. I could tell Alison Matthews Davids has such a passion for this subject. Her passion was contagious and was a real joy to read, I would thoroughly recommend this beautifully illustrated and informative book, for anyone who loves fashion and history.

Fashion Victims 
: The Dangers of Dress Past and Present
Alison Matthews David
Bloomsbury, 2015
ISBN: 978-1-8452-0449-5

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