How do the movies portray latex coats and jackets, and why did filmmakers choose to use them? Did this leave a big impact on our fashion choices? Let’s find out!
From latex trench coats and leather jackets to wild catsuits and superhero costumes, latex is one of the most common materials you’ll see on the big screen today. But what’s the connection between the development of latex and movie history? Check out the impact of latex jackets on movies and learn all about how latex coats are used to create suspense, shock, and tickle our imagination!
Films that used latex coats
Did you know that we were obsessed with latex decades before its shiny black textures were popularized by movies like The Matrix?
In fact, latex fashion and fetishism became popular just after World War II. The biggest driver of latex fetishism in the 1940s was Bizarre magazine. It was published in the U.S. in 1946, and it brought fetishism and BDSM to the public. And while the 1950s became the golden era for glossy rubber wear, latex fetishes were still a big taboo.
The 1950s saw the development of naughty catsuits, and there was a surge of latex-related pornography. Still, it would take a while before latex broke into the mainstream and made its appearance in Hollywood blockbusters.
It all happened with the release of Batman Returns in 1992. This was one of the first Hollywood flicks to feature a female actress dressed in a latex catsuit. To this day, Michelle Pheiffer’s Catwoman remains one of the most iconic leather-clad film characters. Her dominant and playful Catwoman persona also helped latex break into the mainstream.
In the 1990s, latex was omnipresent in cinemas, magazines, music videos, and all over the internet. Remember Destiny’s Child in rubber or Pamela Anderson’s wild latex costume in Barb Wire? Latex coats and suits were used in movies much earlier, but it was in this decade that that helped latex break into the mainstream.
How the films portray latex coats and jackets
Without question, the most iconic movie that brought latex to the masses is The Matrix from 1999. However, countless other flicks and TV shows used latex wear. In fact, it was the top choice of filmmakers for stealth, action, suspense, and character development. Latex jackets made appearances in films like Les Vampires, Irma Vep, Barbarella, Edward Scissorhands, and Tron.
Aside from Batman Returns, Alfred Hitchcock’s To Catch a Thief was one of the first movies that portrayed a latex catsuit. Some film critics believe that, besides utilizing latex to portray action, filmmakers used it to redefine female gender roles in movies. Some examples are Tomb Raider’s Lara Croft, Aeon Flux’s Charlize Theron, Resident Evil’s Milla Jovovich, as well as Underworld’s Kate Beckinsale. Most critics consider those films as a part of Hollywood’s tough chic movement.
And when it comes to films like The Matrix, latex was used to express a sexy utilitarian yet futuristic look. However, it was also cheap, and the filmmakers chose it because it didn’t put a major dent in the budget. Of course, filmmakers always use latex for a purpose. Almost every movie that portrays latex does so deliberately to express some of the previously mentioned character qualities or story developments.
How films made an impact
As mentioned, latex fashion owes a lot to 1990s pop culture. When movies replicate the most popular trends in fashion, it influences what we wear every day. Also, it plays a huge role in what we consider to be attractive and helps to define an entire generation. The films that used latex/rubber or PVC outfits and especially the Matrix franchise changed the world of fashion and popular culture, and it made us reconsider our style choices.
The Matrix is one of the best examples because it basically revived the cyberpunk movement. It inspired many collections, including Dior’s entire 1999 collection that rocked the runway with sweeping latex coats. After that, cyberpunk became a fashion style in its own right, and it has constantly been updated over the years. In 2017, Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga, Balmain, and Vetements all introduced Matrix-inspired collections with tight leather looks.
What do these latex jackets and coats signify?
While latex is quite challenging to shoot, it looks superb on-screen. Its shiny textures and accentuating shapes make the actors and actresses look attractive and provide an entirely new dimension to their characters.
Most commonly, latex is worn by heroes or villains to express their physical abilities in fight scenes and give them mysterious qualities. As you probably know, latex materials serve as a second skin while being highly resistant and durable.
They are highly utilitarian, and that’s what makes them a great choice for action/horror movies like Blade or Underworld. And who could forget Uma Thurman’s legendary yellow latex suit from Kill Bill? More recently, latex costumes are all over the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and there’s a chance that you’ll see them in pretty much any comic book or superhero film out there.
As stated, filmmakers choose latex to portray stealth, movement, and strength. Rubber wear also accentuates a character’s best physical assets to make them seem larger than life. And that works both ways, regardless of if a character is good, evil, or somewhere in-between. It also expresses a wild, erotic side of their personality.
Some theories suggest that latex is popular in the modern superhero genre because it does all the talking. For example, catsuits portray hybrid feline characters and illustrate their connection to cats. But, they also remind us of traditional feline qualities.
Of course, we shouldn’t ignore the BDSM aspects of black leather. In most cases, latex suits are used as excuses for semi-nudity as well as to portray a character’s wilder sexual side and leave us wanting more.
Progression in latex clothing industry
So how did all of that influence the latex clothing industry? Obviously, latex clothing is no longer taboo, but it still has shock value. You’ll see it on the streets and on the screens every day, and it has become an integral part of popular culture. We associate it with 80s and 90s fashion, and we link it to celebrities like Lady Gaga or Miley Cyrus.
Still, the most important thing to mention here is that latex is not limited to fetishists anymore. It has become approachable, less expensive, and available to anyone. What’s more, it’s a durable and waterproof material that works wonders in wet environments or even harsh work conditions. Plus, there are so many uses for it. We can wear it at parties where we want to get noticed or use it in the bedroom during kinky acts.
However, we can also wear latex for day-to-day activities that aren’t sexual at all. The biggest takeaway here is that, besides giving us tons of entertaining movies with attractive characters and hot fight scenes, latex has made us less conservative and more open to exploring our wilder sides.