Latex clothing has been around for over 200 years. Yes, you read correctly. What started out as a “secret fetish” is now high fashion and trendy with famous models and movie stars sporting it.
Scottish chemist Charles Macintosh created the rubberized fabric to make waterproof Mackintosh coats. It was far from glamorous—the coats were stinky, sticky and melted if near high enough temperatures. But the fascination with latex quickly became a kink and were combined with fur, silk and corsets. England’s Mackintosh Society, the oldest fetish organization in the world, made this happen.
For fetishists, latex is the preferred material because it’s sexy, and plays well into worship. It can be a thrill to wear it for some, while others prefer to engage with people sporting it. Latex gives power to objects like stiletto boots, corsets and cat suits.
Fast forward to World War II… the outbreak of war made rubber even more appeal with gas masks and gloves. Between 1923 and 1940, it was the rage. But, in 1932, the Irish government banned the periodical London Life that revolved around latex.
Go-Go Boots & Glam
The 1960s brought about The Avengers TV show. Sexy British actress Emma Peel wore a latex cat suit and kinky go-go boots. Punk designers Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren brought latex to the world of fashion. Also in the 1960s, the British government prosecuted several rubber and leather manufacturers for fetish wear they created.
Warhol muse, fashion designer and queen of nightclubs Dianne Brill wore it regularly as part of her repertoire starting in 1985.
In 1995, Vogue writer Candace Bushnell decided to wear latex outfits and write an investigative piece for the fashion rag. She said it gave her confidence and the ability to flirt. And, it got her own show you’ve probably hear of…Sex and the City, which debuted a few years later.
In 2012, Lady Gaga wore latex to meet the Queen. That same year Anne Hathaway wore a Catwoman suit for her role in The Dark Knight Rises. She’s been quoted in Allure magazine as saying it dominated her year and forever changed her. Also in 2012, Oscar de la Renta had a red latex top and pencil skirt in this collection and drove the fashion media wild.
Red Carpet Debut
In 2015, latex started to make it’s jump from the red room to the red carpet and has stayed there. Once considered taboo, latex garments are earning clothing companies upwards of $500 million yearly. And of course, Fifty Shades of Grey piqued people’s attention in not only making S&M and bondage mainstream, but also latex clothing. And Italian tire maker corporate gift the same year was a calendar featuring hot models in pinup poses wearing latex.
Big name designers like House of Harlot’s Marc Jacobs, Japanese designer Atsuko Kudo have been delving into making latex couture for Kim Kardashian, Kylie Minogue, Gigi Hadid, and Rita Ora. Rockers like Madonna and Katy Perry wearing sexy outfits on the 2014 cover of V Magazine have also help up the latex game. Now, it’s a huge trend that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere.