From latex-clad fetishism to female empowerment, discover the stimulating reads that informed the designer's opulent new fragrance
Marc Jacobs is no stranger to a touch of debauchery – as he explained to Butt Magazine in 2003, "New York youth culture is a bit of decadence, a bit of youthful bravado and kind of Fuck-Art-Let’s-Dance thing, Live Fast Die Young. That’s what I was always attracted to. I never wanted to be the president of the United States, I never wanted to be the head of the football team, I never wanted to be a scientist and cure cancer. I wanted to go out and have a fantastic fucking time, and I wanted to hear music so loud that… I just wanted more more more. Hedonistic debauchery."
Thus his new perfume, launching later this month, is rather aptly titled Decadence. Heady and opulent, with a top of plum and saffron and a base of vetiver and amber, it imparts a lavishly sensual experience from first note to final spritz, encased in a tactile snakeskin-print bottle and velvet-flocked box. Here, we present the five books that Jacobs chose to reflect his understanding of decadence: a whistle-stop tour of latex-clad fetishism and female empowerment...
Dressing for Pleasure In Rubber, Vinyl & Leather by Jonny Trunk
A compendium of 70s fetishwear bible AtomAge, Dressing for Pleasure is one of the greatest explorations into the worlds of rubber, vinyl and leather that one could possibly hope for. Featuring everything from rubber-clad dominatrixes to latex-covered astronauts, it is a selection of some of John Sutcliffe's greatest photography – much of which was originally created to promote sales of the fetishwear pieces that he sold out of a former hayloft in Soho, London.
Available only by mail-order (and published at slightly irregular periods throughout its existence), the magazine played a pivotal role in fetish and counter culture – and Dressing for Pleasure means that we can celebrate its impact and flick through its greatest moments with ease. A world of inspiration awaits.
Linder: Works 1976-2006 by Linder Sterling
Linder Sterling's impact on subculture is immutable, ever since her work graced the cover of the Buzzcock's first single, she has had a consistent presence within the worlds of art, music and fashion and has helped shape some of the most provocative movements of our times. Her first book, Linder: Works 1976-2006 is both a celebration of her body of work as well as a testament to her cultural impact, with commentary from contributors from Morrissey to Philip Hoare.
What Linder's hyper-sexual surrealism manages to achieve is a bracing commentary on gender and consumption, with an overarching wit and aesthetic harmony. She is an artist whose understanding of oppression is only matched by her ability to translate it into humour, and that makes her message (both politically and visually) even more powerful.
Show by Henry Horstein
Taken between 2001 and 2009, Henry Horstein's documentary of the neo-burlesque resurgence that has occured recently is a self-described "random mix of burlesque, drag, sideshow, and fetish in style." Shot in black and white, the series is simultaneously a throwback to the bygone era of celebrated showgirls as well as a contemporary examination of those Horstein describes as "living on the margins," artists who are using their performance to deliver "their personal expression through song, dance, comedy, and narrative – charged sexually and often highly political."
Mrs Newton, June Newton a.k.a Alice Springs by Taschen
Since 1970, June Newton (wife of fashion icon Helmut) has used the pseudonym Alice Springs for her photography – a profession that she initially entered by standing in for her husband who fell ill with flu only hours before a shoot was scheduled. Since then, she has gone on to establish an illustrious career in her own right, shooting people from Anjelica Huston to Yves Saint Laurent for publications from Vogue to Interview. In Mrs Newton, she not only includes images from her professional life but gives a deeply intimate insight into her own world through inclusion of her personal snapshots and diary entries.
Les Girls by Daniel Frasnay
For forty years, Daniel Frasnay was the official photographer at Paris' Cabaret Lido, the world-famous venue that led the way for cabaret performance. Shot between 1950 and the late 1970s, the images in Les Girls are a foray into the glittering and feathered world of burlesque, and present Frasnay's enchantingly intimate understanding of and relationship with the performers of his time.