Fashion Victims - The Dangers of Dress Past and Present
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. Fabulously gory and gruesome, Fashion Victims takes the reader on 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. Fashion Victims is lavishly illustrated with over 125 images and is a remarkable resource for everyone from scholars and students to fashion enthusiasts.
Combining narrative verve with a brilliant selection of pictures, Fashion Victims is both an engaging read and a 'useable history'. Meticulously researched, it wears its academic credentials lightly, and the story it tells is at once entertaining and startling. Fashion history will never seem quite the same again. Caroline Evans, Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London, UK In this provocative and beautifully-illustrated volume, Alison Matthews David spans past and present, producers and consumers, Europe and the United States, to explore the many ways that fashionable clothing and accessories harmed and sometimes killed. A fascinating read and essential backdrop to concerns about today's globalized textile and garment production. Clare H. Crowston, University of Illinois, USA No book explores fashion as a seductive pleasure that kills like Alison Matthews David's Fashion Victims. With contaminated cloth, mercury-laden fur and toxic dyestuffs, poisoned fashion silently claims its victims - makers and wearers. This panoramic work outlines the hazardous substances used in fashion, both past and present. Tanya Williams Wetenhall, The George Washington University, USA A highly engaging and thought-provoking book. Informative, entertaining and unsettling, Fashion Victims is a history of death by dress for fashionistas and scholars alike. Read it! Susan J. Vincent, University of York, UK