A probing look at influential women in fashion history.
In her follow-up to Fashion That Changed the World (2014), Croll chronicles more than 40 women throughout history who, either by vocation or influence, have proven “fashion is anything but frivolous.” With the aid of archival photos and Buchholc’s spirited illustrations, Croll unveils rounded portraits of 10 fashion “bad girls” and spotlights a few dozen more who learned—many at a young age—“how tactical fashion can be” in “shaping opinion” and “challenging the status quo.” Croll’s “style rebels” range from present-day pop icons Lady Gaga and Madonna, legendary fashion editors Diana Vreeland and Anna Wintour, and Black Panther radical Angela Davis all the way back to Cleopatra, who became pharaoh at the tender age of 16 and carefully styled herself in the likeness of the goddess Isis. To show how fashion can be used to one’s advantage, Croll points to gender-bending Marlene Dietrich, clad in suit and tie, as well as Marilyn Monroe, who had a cobbler shorten one of her heels to exaggerate the swing of her hips. Overall, the scope and variety of Croll’s subjects compellingly present women as powerful arbiters of—rather than slaves to—fashion.
Richly detailed and engagingly written, Croll’s captivating study is sure both to enlighten and embolden fashion-minded youth. (index, bibliography, further reading) (Nonfiction. 10-17)