After listening to Derek McCormack criticize Valerie Steele’s Gothic: Dark Glamour in person at ILORI and then on Q, the radio show, I was prepared to tear apart his book, The Show that Smells, and avenge my fashion hero. I am kidding. He is a professional contrarion so it is his job to turn discussions into debates – and I am just a dilettante who likes talking about dresses.
Fact is, I am way too busy right now to be doing a review, plus its way to early to do The Late Review. He has not even had his book launch yet – it is happening on October 2. Yet I read it already despite myself.
Thanks to Nathalie Atkinson (who is enabling my fashion book habit these days), I had an advance copy of McCormack’s book in my hands at Louisa McCormack‘s launch event for her new book The Catch. (That event is going to get its own post soon.) I forgot to ask if the two authors are related. They certainly are both clever characters with a talent for radio show-worthy repartee.
The Show that Smells is a lean little book which I was able to read on a couple slow trips on the Queen streetcar. I do not know what genre it is. It is like a Busby Berkeley dance routine of a book, full of palindromes, punctuation, and perfumery ephemera.
Whatever it is, I liked it. This is flash for fashion nerds – all obscure jargon, fashion history factoids, and literary conceits telling an absurd, macabre carnival kitsch story. Delightful.