Fashion Victims: The Dangers of Dress Past and Present



From insidious murder weapons to blaze-igniting crinolines, clothing has been the reason for death, disease and madness right through history, unintentionally and design. Clothing is designed to give protection to, 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 captivating journey during the lethal history of women’s, men’s and children’s dress, in myth and reality. Drawing upon surviving fashion objects and a large number of 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 individuals who made and wore them, and harmed animals and the environment within the process. Vividly chronicling evidence from Greek mythology to the present day, Matthews David puts on a regular basis 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.

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