Hello everyone! I know it’s been awhile so I thought I’d catch up on the books I’ve finished lately. Also a few movies but that will have to be a different post.
Well, the first book is Fashion Victims: The Dangers of Dress, Past and Present by Alison Matthews-David.
It is a fascinating look at how dangerous fashion can be for both the maker and consumers throughout the last couple hundred years. And still, today, in countries where factories have outsourced their clothing making to. Past and present people have worked with hazardous chemicals with little to no safety precautions. Today the wearing of such items is a little safer but most times not for the worker.
It also focuses on how trends themselves can be dangerous. Such as easily flammable materials and crinolines. Also flowing clothing and scarves getting caught in machinery, such as Isadora Duncan’s scarf getting caught in the wheels of the cat she was in. Platform shoes are also a driving hazard, the book cites a very interesting study done in the seventies about them.
Another interesting thing the book brings up is how many expressions are specifically linked to fashion. For example, the term ‘mad as a hatter’ came about from the effects workers would display because of mercury poisoning which was used extensively in hattery. Also, ‘got the blues’ had been linked to people displaying cyanosis from arsenic poisoning, which was used to make many vibrant colors, a vivid emerald green being the most popular.
As far as the book itself goes it is highly readable. The author never gets pedantic or repetitive and it has a conversational tone to it. The illustrations and photographs of period clothing are excellent and go far towards illustrating the effects on the workers and wearers of the items, but also why they were so tempting to purchase to begin with. I have the e-book version (kindle Fire) but I would bet that the pictures in the hardcover are even better. I personally prefer e-book versions of larger books because I have problems holding bigger books comfortably.
Much of it is about French fashion, which is fine, I’m just surprised that there wasn’t more about England during that same period. Not that there was no mention at all, just that France took precedence. There was also very little mention of American clothing as well, which I would have liked to see. However, it didn’t affect my enjoyment of the book.
I saw in one of the photo captions that the author has a display in Toronto that sounds like it would be really interesting to see.
So, to sum it all up, I would say that if you’re into reading about period fashion (and it’s darker, more toxic side) this is certainly a fascinating read.
Hopefully I can get the rest caught up soon but with the holiday weekend coming up I may be a little busy. But within the next three days or so I should be getting the rest up.
Soon to come well be reviews of The Ghosts of Kerfol by Deborah Noyes and Hauntings edited by Ian Whates. So far Hauntings is excellent. Also soon to come well be reviews of As Above, So Below, Crimson Peak, Stonehearst Asylum and Jacob’s Ladder.
Also, still doing #Mp3A-Z on Twitter if you want to follow along as I progress through my MP3 player. I’m on the H’s now.
So, see you soon!