6 Deadly Historical Fashion Trends, just in time for Halloween...

6 Deadly Historical Fashion Trends, just in time for Halloween...

Yesterday at 9:29am

Ghouls and Gobblies, I was sent the BEST article on fashion that I've ever seen yesterday... Mankind has suffered for fashion trends for thousands of years... braving the caves of giant bears to clothe our ancestral behinds, brass rings wrapped around the neck to protect against tiger maulings, high high high heels to destroy the foot while elongating and enhancing the leg, dancing en pointe... we put our bodies through some shit to look beautiful, don't we kiddies?
Trends have been around since before the before time in the long long ago... someone somewhere did something that someone inportant liked... and therefore everyone had to have it... regardless of the consequences.
Fashion to DIE for... LITERALLY.
Deadly Trend #6 --The Crinoline
Now a Crinoline may sound completely innocent, it's just a light fabric that gives a woman's skirts a little more shape than provided by nature... right?
Historically, the crinoline is a birdcage shaped aparratus that was worn under skirts to not only give some extra added shape... but to also give a HUGE amount of exaggerated shape... making the waist look ultra slim and tiny, and the figure of the actual woman more dainty and decorative...
I'm not suprised by that either, it's also worth mentioning that these things were made of some odd stuff... wood, fabric, sometimes METAL...

Brings a new meaning to the phrase "the caged bird"

Now... why is this strange sounding thing considered a Deadly Fashion weapon?
Here's why...
I can't even make this sound more awesome, so I'll quote straight from the article.
"Because of its design, it [the crinoline] was quite susceptible to gusts of wind. There are tales of women on piers that were swept up and carried out to sea, where they promptly drowned due to having a fucking steel cage tied to their waists. It was also a bad idea to hang around cliffs or tall buildings in this sort of contraption."

Makes a trip to the seaside a little more thrilling...don't you think.

And that wasn't the only danger, the elongated hips of the crinoline presented a huge danger in knocking over candles, which sounds silly and clumsy, but was deadly for more than a few women who went up in flames or who were unable to exit a building because their skirts were too wide to get out the front door in a hurry...
"In 1863 in Santiago, Chile, between 2000 and 3000 people died in a church fire. When a gas lamp lit the veils on the walls, people tried to run outside, but the width of the women's skirts blocked the door, and crinolines with women inside piled up in front of the exit, making an escape impossible even for the people who'd been smart enough not to wear hoop skirts.
" Deadly Trend #5 ~ The Corset

Now, I for one, am a corset lover... they give a shape like no other and there is nothing sexier than a woman who wears a corset like it's her second skin...
There is a line to be drawn... corsetry as body modification is a very interesting topic... some people went through and currently go through some very high extremes to achieve the ideal waist size.
Historically, "the result was not so much an hourglass figure, but a body that became an actual hourglass. Queen Maud of Norway was famous for her very small waistline, and many of her gowns are still exhibited so everyone can view their beauty and not-at-all freakishness."

Queen Maud and her tiny tiny waist.

So how is this "deadly"?
The act of donning a corset didn't actually become truly dangerous until people started tight lacing them to the point that ones internal organs were essentially all shoved downwards (which could cause internal bleeding which was deadly in that time period), the ribcage compressed or sometimes broken over time, and the lungs constricted.

The results of tight lacing...an attractively heaving bosom, and a crushed body cavity.

Hence, that MARVELOUS Victorian invention... the heaving bosom... and fainting feminine violets... too delicate for the world of men. I would be too if I couldn't speak without gasping.
Not to mention, "in 1903, a woman died suddenly due to two pieces of corset steel that became lodged in her heart. Yeah, when your outfit fucking stabs you to death, it's probably a sign that you've made a bad fashion decision."
Touche Deadly Trend #4 ~ Footbinding

Beautiful shoes represented tiny feet, which were as much a part of the marriage negotiations as the lineage and wealth of the prospective bride.

Ah yes...footbinding. Han Chinese nobles were inflicting this body modification on their female children hundreds of years before the advent of the corset...
Sometime in the 8th century, "it began with one concubine dancing around in front of the emperor with silk wrapped around her feet, and it ended with women whose feet were so disfigured they could only walk very short distances.
" The Golden Lilly feet were highly prized in ancient China, the smaller the foot of the prospective bride, the higher the bride price, and the better the marriage, bringing honour to the family and the prospective owner of the tiny footed bride. Prospective brides would send their intended husbands and mothers-in-law pairs of their tiny shoes...the finacee could see and fantasize about how small and pefect the feet of his potential bride would be, and the mother-in-law could judge her prospective daughter's skill in sewing, embroidery, and taste... important things for a young girl who wouldn't be moving much farther than her suites of rooms in her new household.
And yes, they were a sexual tool... and enhancement if you will. Husbands sought out the smallest and most finely shaped Golden Lillies for their enjoyment in the bedroom... I'll let you use your imaginations with that little tidbit... but suffice to say, that a foot fetish is heavily implied here.
Now, why was it a Deadly practice?
Not only were women willingly breaking the tiny bones of their daughters' feet... oh no...
"In order to transform the foot from regular-shaped to crazy-in-the-head-shaped, women started early, at two to seven-years-old, when their feet were soft and the bones still forming. First, their feet would soak in a bath that could be anything from herbs and water to urine and vinegar, depending on the family tradition. Then all their toes except the big one were folded down, and the arch of the foot bent back. The process would go on for a couple of years, with ever tighter bandages and recurrently disgusting foot baths, until the feet were about three inches long.
Footbinding cut off circulation in the toes, and the procedure oftentimes lead to gangrene or other life-threatening infections. Gangrenous toes were actually considered to be a good thing, because that meant the toes might fall off. The ideal was a foot that wasn't a foot at all, but simply a continuation of the leg."

The results.Broken toes and arch.

Death by blood poisoning or infection was common, as were other injuries relating to the breaking of the bones of the toes and foot arch. A lucky woman survived the process with tiny feet, measureing 2-4 inches long in ideal cases. An unlucky woman would have larger or imperfectly shaped lillies, which would erase her possibilities for a noble marriage and more than likely she would be one of the unlucky women who would have to do manual labour while tottering around on eternally broken feet.
"Women who didn't have bound feet were considered to be provincial, because only farmers needed to be able to walk and get work done. A real lady staggered on her heels or rode piggyback, because she was unable to put any pressure on her toes (if she had any)."

Foot binding x-rays, I like my flat peasant feet.

Deadly Trend #3 ~ The Fontage
The fontage began like footbinding, as simply the fault of a woman trying to catch the eye of the man in charge...
In 17th Century France, "Angelique de Fontanges, lost her cap one day when she was out riding horses with the king. Not wanting to let her hair fall freely - as that might be dangerous - she took a piece of ribbon and tied it to her hair.
The king liked it so much that he made de Fontanges a duchess, and because all of France's women wanted to be just as cool as the duchess a fashion trend was born."

The Fontage...how spectacular....and probablay nice and warm too.

Now this sounds really simple...women put crap in their hair all the time...
But the french women made it a serious business...graduating from simple ribbons to huge constructions on their heads.
Why is this a Deadly trend?
Like most things put on the head, Fontage's were constructed of light materials... unfortunately, light = flammable... and in a time where most of the lighting provided at balls, parties, dinners, etc where these contraptions would be worn, was all provided by CANDLES...you can imagine the carnage...
"They might as well have been wearing gasoline soaked rags on their heads.
Just ask "Mrs. Von Ilten" who suffered "... burnt neck, face and hands" because, as the reporter casually stated, "her fontange caught fire, she stared and fell and did not think to throw it off as I use to do..." "

Deadly Trend #2 ~ Lead Based Makeup
As a makeup artist... and as a History major... I've heard all kinds of stories and done all kinds of research about the crap that women have put on their faces over the centuries to make them beautiful. A Crocodile poop and clay mixture called Crocodilea was popular in Roman Egypt, nightingale poop cream for a Geisha's makeup prep... I'm sensing a poop theme.... Lead based makeup was used extremely often... from ancient times right up to the 1920's. What did it do? Well it bleached your face of course! How else did you think that Elizabeth I got that ghostly deified glow?

Lead based makeup gave Lizzy I her Madonna-esque dead-white glow.

How is it Deadly?
Lead poisoning is a slow killer... mostly succee in driving it's victims crazy with brain deterioration before inevitable death.
"In 1760, Marie Gunning, an Irish noblewoman who was famous for her beauty and white porcelain skin, became the first documented victim of cosmetic lead poisoning. You'd think that'd be enough to get people to change their cosmetics habits, but only seven years later the actress Kitty Fisher joined Gunning in the ranks of the perpetually pale. Finally, in 1878, Madame Rachel, a woman who'd made a living from selling the deadly cosmetics died from exposure to the lead in her own makeup. Irony is a bitch, Madame.
" Deady Trend #1 ~The Stiff High Collar
Just when you thought women got all of the bad fashion ideas... here's one for the fella's. We're talking about the specific kind of high detachable collar that was especially popular in the 19th century, Pride and Prejudice type era. The collar was always white and was fastened to the dandy's shirt with metal studs.

How was this manly contraption Deadly?
"The detachable collar was a quiet, subtle assassin. By cutting off circulation, it could creep up on a man in his drunken sleep and choke him to death when the man's head fell forward. It could also cause asphyxia and an abscess on the brain just by being tight, or in cases of indigestion that lead to the neck swelling it would simply strangle its prey. One very unlucky man at the end of the 1800s was almost guillotined on his collar when he tripped coming out of a street car.
" You have to remember here that this was a time of uptight propriety (which is odd considering how often the stiffness of the collars was likened to the virility of the man wearing it... a wilted collar was most shameful)... and of corpulent men eating large amounts of salty food and continuously toasting the health of the Queen... so there was lots of drunken card games, gout, and falling asleep in overstuffed wing chairs in the Gentleman's Club.

The original popped collar, G.

If only the popped collars of today were so deadly (you have to admit, they're annoyingly similar)... life would be so much simpler and so less full of retarded guys in too tight shirts.

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