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All the Rage

Pleasure, Pain, Power: Stories from the Frontline of Beauty 1860-1960
  • Author
    • Virginia Nicholson
Regular price £25.00
Regular price Sale price £25.00

Anticipated publication date

Apr 11, 2024

We will deliver the product within a reasonable period of time following the publication date

The publication date is an estimated date only and is subject to change.

We anticipate that the book will be published on this date. However, should the estimated publication date change for whatever reason, we will notify you within a reasonable period of time.

From the popular historian and author of Among the Bohemians and How Was It For You? comes a new offering, unbuttoning the multi-layered, hundred-year-history of women's lives through fashion and beauty from 1860 to 1960

At the heart of this history is the female body.

The century-span between the crinoline and the bikini witnessed more mutations in the ideal western woman's body shape than at any other period.

In this richly detailed account, Virginia Nicholson, described as 'one of the great social historians of our time...' (Amanda Foreman) takes us to the Frontline of Beauty to reveal the power, the pain and the pleasure involved in adorning the female body.

The Power

Who determines which shape is currently 'all the rage'? Looking at how custom, colour, class and sex fit into the picture, this book also charts how the advances made by feminism collided with the changing shape of desirability.

The Pain

Here is Gladys, who had botched surgery on her nose; Dorothy, whose skin colour lost her an Oscar; Beccy who took slimming pills and died; and - unbelievably - the radioactive corset.

The Pleasure

Here are the 'New Women' who discovered freedom by bobbing their hair; the boyish, athletic 'Health and Beauty' ladies in black knickers; and starlets in bohemian beachwear. Among the first to experience true women's liberation were the early adopters of trousers.

Encompassing two world wars and a revolution in women's rights, All the Rage tells the story of western female beauty from 1860 to 1960, chronicling its codes, its contradictions, its lies, its highs - and its underlying power struggle.

Not available for shipping to the following countries:

  • ASM
  • GUM
  • MNP
  • UMI
  • FSM
  • MHL
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  • USA
  • VIR
  • Published: Apr 11 2024
  • Pages: 480
  • ISBN: 9780349014319
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Press Reviews

  • Amanda Foreman

    Virginia Nicholson is one of the great social historians of our time. No one else makes history this fun
  • Tina Brown on HOW WAS IT FOR YOU?

    Fine intelligence and irresistible brio... How Was It For You? is a kaleidoscopic tribute to the generation that put the "F" into feminism. I ripped through it with gusto and delight
  • David Kynaston on HOW WAS IT FOR YOU?

    Intimate, immersive, often moving, How Was It For You? subtly but powerfully subverts complacent male assumptions about a legendary decade
  • Carmen Callil on HOW WAS IT FOR YOU?

    Virginia Nicholson is the outstanding recorder of British lives in the twentieth century
  • Ysenda Maxtone Graham

    Times, on HOW WAS IT FOR YOU?
    Sparklingly readable . . . Having read Nicholson's magisterial and sensuous overview of the decade, I feel I'm floating above the Sixties (a bit like Lucy in the Sky) and looking down on them with a new understanding
  • Daisy Goodwin

    Sunday Times, on HOW WAS IT FOR YOU?
    Sparkling . . . there is a wonderfully diverse range of voices . . . we have a long way to go, but reading this book made me grateful for how far we have come
  • Rosie Boycott

    Financial Times, on HOW WAS IT FOR YOU?
    The stories are terrific