Monday, July 11, 2011

Book Review: Dressing for Pleasure

This book is a little treasure - a collection of images and letters from AtomAge magazine, created by John Sutcliffe in 1957. It recounts the origins of the magazine and his leathercraft business. It all started with Mr. Sutcliffe making leathers for female motorcycle riders. The response was very positive, and it evolved into making more specialized fetish garments.

Mr. Sutcliffe's most widely-known work was probably making costumes for Emma Peel of the 1960s television show The Avengers, as well as the leather garments for Allan Jones' famous sculptures Chair, Table and Hat Stand.

My favorite story from the book recounts the tale of a chemical company that commissioned a skin-tight head-to-toe leather suit for a model to wear to draw attention to their booth at a trade show. She made appearances in the suit in Trafalgar Square, and captured quite a bit of notice, as you can imagine! She was a vision of total leather enclosure: hooded, booted, goggled, gloved - see the image below:
Can you imagine that suit being written off as a business expense? HA! The book is filled with old drawings and photos, which I always love to see. Certain elements of fetishism are just timeless.

Mr. Sutcliffe also created a title called AtomAge Rubberist, as well as AtomAge Bondage.

The brief biographical sketch in the book mentions the legal trouble Mr. Sutcliffe encountered as a result of a story he published. The police raided, his stock was confiscated and the printing plates from every past issue were destroyed. This was back in 1982, not so long ago... He kept designing and publishing until his sudden death (at his desk) in September 1987.
The publishers note: "With the publishing of this book hopefully the Sutcliffe name, reputation and influence will spread". I hope so too!

If this book looks like something that you would enjoy, it's available here.

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