Fashion Rebels

Style Icons Who Changed the World through Fashion

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About The Book

Get to know the women who’ve wielded the power of fashion and brought about change with this illustrated biography that features twenty-five of history’s most influential fashion icons.

Throughout time, daring women have made fashion choices that have altered the course of history. From Marie Antoinette, who wore a hairstyle as large as her presence, to Coco Chanel, who imagined a world without rib crushing corsets and heavy gowns, to Katharine Hepburn, who walked around the studio in her underwear when studio executives refused to let her wear her then-scandalous jeans, these women were mavericks as well as rebellious icons.

Their fashion choices mirrored and redefined what it meant to be a woman in their era. They didn’t follow trends or cultural conventions, but instead set the course with their own style. Their brave and inventive fashion choices paved the way for female empowerment.

Featuring hairstyle tips, DIY projects, inspiration boards that break down each icon’s style, and illustrated timelines that cover the evolution of pants, skirts, the little black dress, and more, Fashion Rebels: Style Icons Who Changed the World through Fashion invites readers to treat fashion as an act of fearless creativity—and even become fashion trailblazers themselves.

About The Author

Photograph by Kerry Lynn Goodwin

Carlyn Cerniglia Beccia is the award-winning author and illustrator of three children’s nonfiction books: Raucous Royals, Who Put the ‘B’ in the Ballyhoo, and I Feel Better With a Frog in My Throat. She has received the Golden Kite Honor, the Cybil Award, and the International Reading Association’s Children’s and Young Adult Book Award. She teaches digital painting throughout the United States and is the author of the bestselling Digital Painting for the Complete Beginner. She lives north of Boston. You can find out more via her website at CarylnBeccia.com.

About The Illustrator

Photograph by Kerry Lynn Goodwin

Carlyn Cerniglia Beccia is the award-winning author and illustrator of three children’s nonfiction books: Raucous Royals, Who Put the ‘B’ in the Ballyhoo, and I Feel Better With a Frog in My Throat. She has received the Golden Kite Honor, the Cybil Award, and the International Reading Association’s Children’s and Young Adult Book Award. She teaches digital painting throughout the United States and is the author of the bestselling Digital Painting for the Complete Beginner. She lives north of Boston. You can find out more via her website at CarylnBeccia.com.

Raves and Reviews

Beccia spotlights influential women from 69 B.C.E. to today who "didn't just change the world of fashion" but "used fashion to change the world." Hoping to enlighten young readers to the fact that women weren't always as free as Lady Gaga to "wear slabs of meat or Kermit the Frogs" and "call it a dress," Beccia looks to women who changed the course of history by what they famously chose—or refused—to wear. What sets Beccia's inspirational annals of fashion apart from similar biographical collections is the interactive nature of her account, which includes a lighthearted quiz to determine what style icon one most identifies with (say, Ellen DeGeneres or Audrey Hepburn), DIY instructions on how to craft an 18th-century choker à la Marie Antoinette, and directions to re-create famous hairstyles like those of Josephine Baker or Marilyn Monroe. Add in fascinating illustrated histories of iconic garments, such as pants or the little black dress, and riveting, take-no-prisoners fashion tales, such as how Katharine Hepburn walked out of her dressing room in only her silk underwear after studio executives stole her pants in a vain effort to make her wear a skirt, for an exceptionally engaging experience. From Cleopatra to Brittney Griner, Beccia's empowering snapshots show how women from all walks of life can and have used fashion to command; not to be missed. (notes, bibliography, glossary)(Nonfiction. 8-14)

– Kirkus Reviews

Cleopatra and Elizabeth I wielded power that allowed them to dress as they wished without much opposition. Marie Antoinette, with her mile-high hair, discovered that there was a downside to that. Today, pop stars have created a world where pretty much anything goes, often to the distress of parents. Good news! Aimed at grades 4-6, this book is designed to be informative and interactive, as well as very “cool”. I found it fascinating and fun, and I think lots of parents will find it to be common ground with their young rebels. Fashion guru Iris Apfel moves the contents into the world of philosophy: “When you don’t dress like everybody else, you don’t have to think like everybody else.”  Lemons into lemonade? 

– Retailing Insight

Students who pick up this book will find a treasure trove of history and fashion advice within its pages. Beginning with the original fashionista, Cleopatra, and spanning history to modern day style icons Tavi Gevinson and Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen, this book hits all the biggies. Much of the book contains brief fashion histories of 25 figures, but there are also special instructions on how to replicate certain styles, a full page layout of each person's most iconic looks, and individual style tips from some of the women. Illustrations are provided in b&w sketches reminiscent of couture drawings. The book places a heavy emphasis on finding one’s own style, one that reflects one's inner core. The greater message is that fashion is only as important as the way it is used, and that a person's sense of style should not in any way define that person. The only addition that might have contributed additional interest would have been some color plates, especially for the fashion breakdowns. However, a detailed footnote section provides more than enough additional resources for readers who want to dive further into the world of fashion. Bibliography. Glossary. 

– School Library Connection, 10/01/16

Awards and Honors

  • Chicago Public Library's Best of the Best
  • Eureka Nonfiction Honor Book
  • Cybils Award Finalist

Resources and Downloads

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