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Crinoline - Fashion's most magnificent disaster

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The voluminous crinoline underskirt was immensely popular between the years of 1856 to 1867, but was by its very nature severely impractical: a strong gust of wind would blow the dress up exposing the womans legs and undergarments; worse still, the crinolines were cumbersome, caused accidents and proved to be a serious fire hazard. As the shapes of crinoline garments grew more and more extreme, artists were inspired to capture the absurdities and misfortunes of the wearers through stereo photos, as well as in cartoons and drawings. Just as Crinoline came into fashion, the stereoscope – the equivalent of TV and Film for the Victorians – became a huge craze. Stereo photographers capitalized on the ridiculous spectacle of the women in crinolines, giving impoverished Victorian husbands some consolation in laughter. Although the hoops and inflatable frames disappeared, this wonderful humorous imagery produced during the Crinoline decade has lasted intact over the centuries – and is rediscovered in this book. Crinoline – the book – begins with the emergence of the steel petticoat and the initial onset of the "Crinoline Age", and then takes the reader on a fascinating visual journey, including a wealth of colourful 3-D imagery, to the historical moment when women began to protest against the "cage" and it was eventually phased out. However, contemporary designers such as the late Alexander McQueen, Zandra Rhodes and Vivienne Westwood have reintroduced the crinoline to the catwalk, bringing the dramatic garment of the 19th century all the way into the 21st century with a modern twist.

Brian May, CBE, PhD, FRAS is a founding member of Queen, a world-renowned guitarist, songwriter, producer and performer, also a Doctor of Astrophysics, 3-D stereoscopic photographic authority and a passionate advocate and campaigner for animal rights. Accomplished Astronomy student Brian’s PhD studies were stalled when a musical career superseded. The following four decades have seen Queen amass a staggering list of sales and awards with a catalogue that consistently tops popularity polls and sees Queen remain the most successful albums act in UK chart history. Brian has penned 22 Queen top 20 hits, among them the powerful ballads ‘Who Wants to Live Forever’, ‘No-One But You’ and ‘Save Me’, along with anthems ‘The Show Must Go On’, ‘I Want It All’ and ‘We Will Rock You’. He retains his keen passion for Astronomy and after a 30-year break returned to Astrophysics to update his doctoral thesis on the Motions of Interplanetary Dust, achieving his PhD from Imperial College, London, in 2007. 2018 celebrates the 10th anniversary of Brian’s publishing house, the revived London Stereoscopic Company. Whilst specialising in Victorian 3-D Photography, the LSC’s latest publication Queen in 3-D features previously unseen images alongside Brian’s narration of his childhood discovery of stereoscopy and through his life with Queen from the early 1970s to present day. All LSC books include Brian’s own design OWL stereoscopic viewer. More information on matters stereoscopic are available at Brian’s dedicated website, www.londonstereo.com. As a lifelong advocate of animal welfare, Brian set up the Save Me campaign to champion all, but predominantly British wildlife. Save Me works at grass roots level in conjunction with a local animal rescue and re-homing centre as well as being a player alongside the major animal welfare groups. Brian has been a leading inspiration in the fight against fox hunting and badger culling. Further information at www.save-me.org.uk, also www.teambadger.org. Appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2005 for ‘services to the Music Industry’ and for his charity work, Brian is patron to a number of charities, also a vice president of the RSPCA. He greatly enjoys interacting with his fans, who can enjoy his updates and thoughts on twitter at @DrBrianMay and at www.brianmay.com.

"A very special and wonderful book with enlightened research unveiling fascinating facts such as crinolines being considered an extremely dangerous form of clothing at one time. Great examples of 3-D pictures totally in keeping with its historical importance, complete with 3-D viewer." Dame Zandra Rhodes

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