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Dead Fashion Girl

Dead Fashion Girl
by Fred Vermorel
148 x 210
PB 440pp
Heavily illustrated

£16.99

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“A remarkable achievement in every way. Quite something!”
Antony Frewin

In 1954, Jean Mary Townsend was strangled with her own scarf and stripped of her underwear.The subsequent police investigation was bungled, leading to a six-decade cover-up, ensuring that this twenty-one-year-old fashion designer was effectively killed twice: first bodily, and then as her significance and her memory were erased. Fred Vermorel’s forensic, troubling (and trouble-making) investigation digs deep into Jean Townsend’s life and times, and her transgressive bohemian milieu. It disentangles the lies and bluffs that have obscured this puzzling case for over half a century and offers a compelling solution to her murder and the official secrecy surrounding it.

More than just a true crime story, Vermorel’s account deploys Townsend’s death as a wild card methodology for probing the 1950s: a cesspit of vice and violence, from coprophiles to bombsite gangs and flick knives in cinemas. Densely illustrated with archival material, Dead Fashion Girl is a heavily researched, darkly curious exposé of London’s 1950s society that touches on celebrity, royalty, the post-war establishment, and ultimately, tragedy.

About the Author

Fred Vermorel is a pioneer of the in-depth study of celebrity and fan cultures, best known for his controversial “antibiographies” of pop icons including the Sex Pistols, Kate Bush, Vivienne Westwood, and Kate Moss.