Killer Style: How Fashion Has Injured, Maimed, & Murdered Through History

Serah-Marie McMahon and Alison Matthews David, illus. by Gillian Wilson. Owlkids, $17.95 (48p) ISBN 978-1-77147-253-1
Chronicling more than just fashion faux pas, Worn Fashion Journal founder McMahon and textiles researcher Matthews David detail the often-fatal injuries that style trends have wrought throughout history. The Canadian pair divide their book into three parts (“Horrified Heads,” “Miserable Middles,” and “Unlucky Legs”) and 16 short chapters, spotlighting hazards ranging from mercury in millinery to arsenic in green dye, radium-infused products, and deadly scarf and high-heel mishaps. Alliterative wordplay (“Flaming Flannelette,” “No More Mr. Lice Guy”) and a matter-of-fact narrative keep the subject from feeling overly macabre. Wilson’s vignettes are paired with archival photos that illustrate the subject’s sometimes gruesome consequences for consumers and producers. Dire situations don’t stop with the wearers; the authors underline hazardous conditions for workers, including the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire and how the practice of sandblasting denim can cause silicosis (“The biggest risks in this book were always taken by those most desperate for a better life”). This fascinating account of some of history’s harmful haute couture and other fads concludes with an extensive bibliography and index. Ages 9–12. (Apr.)
Reviewed on : 02/14/2019
Release date: 04/01/2019
Genre: Children's
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