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Dressing Up: A History of Fancy Dress in Britain
by Verity Wilson
Reaktion Books, 2022
Cloth: 978-1-78914-529-8 | eISBN: 978-1-78914-530-4

ABOUT THIS BOOK | AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY | REVIEWS | TOC
ABOUT THIS BOOK
Featuring many exquisite historical photographs, a celebration of the sometimes extravagant, sometimes bizarre pastime: playing dress-up.
 
Pierrot, Little Bo Peep, cowboy: these characters and many more form part of this colorful story of dressing up, from the accession of Queen Victoria to the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. During this time, fancy dress became a regular part of people’s social lives, and the craze for it spread across Britain and the Empire, reaching every level of society. Spectacular and witty costumes appeared at suburban street carnivals, victory celebrations, fire festivals, missionary bazaars, and the extravagant balls of the wealthy. From the Victorian middle classes performing “living statues” to squads of Shetland men donning traditional fancy dress and setting fire to a Viking ship at the annual Up Helly Aa celebration, this lavishly illustrated book provides a unique view into the quirky, wonderful world of fancy dress.

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