Book Review: Second Skin – The Erotic Art of Lingerie

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Recently, I have been reading Second Skin: The Erotic Art of Lingerie. It is a hardcover book with an a plethora of designers in it. Usually each designer has a biography, various pictures of their lingerie, and an interview with either the founder or with someone prominent in the company. The paper seems to be of high quality but there are a few surprises that I’m not sure how I feel about:

1) Space is not at a premium. Some pages are blank, in black or white, with a small quote from someone famous on them. In fact: a lot of pages are this way. While the book feels and looks substantial, the amount of ‘wasted’ space also feels like wasted money. I have tried to look at it another way: this book, like lingerie, is a luxury. An entire page devoted to just a few words is also a luxury. Not one I am sure I appreciate though.
2) The photography is in matte: there are no glossy images in the book. The photographs are on the same type of paper and are the same finish as the rest of the book. While this brings great continuity to the book it was somewhat disappointing at first.

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The other really odd thing about this book is the lack of continuity between text and images. I can cite two examples off the top of my head. First, they say that “Angelique DeVIL is the purveyor of luxurious corsets and sensual accessories for an elegant clientele” (34). Thus, I expected to see some lovely photographs of even lovelier corsets. None. Not one of the photographs used of Angelique DeVIL is of their corsets.

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Another instance of this lack of continuity between text and photography is with Damaris. The biography partially focuses on Damaris’s fight over the patent for her bow knickers. However, none of the images in the section on Damaris show the bow knickers contrary to my expectations after reading the text. Other knickers are shown – just not them.

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I have not read the entire book yet, but so far I am enjoying it. The images are generally of good quality, the interviews are amusing, and the biographies are very inspiring. I moderately enjoy the many quotes they so generously sprinkle throughout the book: though I disagree with some and find the misuse of space irritating. I do so love learning the history of different companies and I like finding companies I never even knew about!b5

The other small thing that I really do like is the semi-sheer slipcover. It protects the book without hiding the cover. Leave it on your coffee table and watch the eyebrows rise the next time you have friends over! If you want to get your hands on this book, it is on Amazon.ca for $54.79 CAN or Amazon.com for $62.27 right now.

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