Pages from a vintage issue of ‘AtomAge’ magazine from the 2010 book ‘Dressing for Pleasure in Rubber, Vinyl & Leather: The Best of Atomage 1972-1980.’
Back in 2010 the book Dressing for Pleasure in Rubber, Vinyl & Leather: The Best of Atomage 1972-1980 took on the weighty task of detailing the career of remarkable English designer John Sutcliffe and his leather and latex fetish magazine (often referred to as the “fetish bible”) AtomAge. Part of the book’s title is taken from the fantastic 1977 documentary film of the same name by director John Samson, Dressing for Pleasure.
Sutcliffe started making his dangerous latex and leather getups back in the late 1950s after his marriage fell apart and the pioneering kinky clothing maker found himself struggling to stay afloat. After making a few risque outfits out of rubber and leather Sutcliff found himself so busy that he opened a shop on the popular Drury Lane. He made the infamous leather jumpsuit worn by Marianne Faithfull in the 1968 film Girl on a Motorcycle and his subversive attire would soon be carried on the racks of Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood’s SEX boutique on King’s Road.
By the time the first issue of AtomAge hit the shelves in 1972 Sutcliffe was already wildly busy filling orders from his rabid customer base. Originally intended to be a vehicle for Sutcliffe to advertise his clothing AtomAge quickly became a real page-turning publication full of articles, photos of readers wearing his designs, and of course erotic photos of sexy models wearing Sutcliff’s fetish wear, often while engaged in BDSM style role play. Sadly it was the boundary-pushing and at times sadomasochistic photographs that would contribute to the demise of the magazine. Specifically after a book published by AtomAge titled The Story of Gerda found its way into the hands of the authorities. The cops thought that the book gave them just cause to raid AtomAge’s office and take possession of everything on site. The painful end-result of all this madness (in addition to numerous fines assessed to Sutcliff) resulted in every unsold copy of AtomAge being destroyed.
Despite this sad setback Sutcliff (who passed away at his desk a few years after the Gerda debacle essentially ended his career) ended up blazing the trail for other fetish-fueled magazines such as Modern Life Illustrated (which was already putting out their own issues in the mid-60s), Latex Maid, and Rubber Quarterly leaving us a fantastic legacy of erotic and subversive imagery. I’ve got a load of photos in this post from Dressing for Pleasure as well as a few other latex/leather erotic magazines—most of which are delightfully NSFW. If this gets your heart racing then I highly suggest checking out the equally NSFW site that has cataloged AtomAge’s entire print run.
‘AtomAge’ number 23, 1979.
A page from ‘AtomAge’ magazine.
More after the jump…