Our dismal government is to ban the book F**k Fashion, by Ben Westwood (son of the famous Vivienne) from 1st January 2009, and possession of it after that date could gain you a three-year jail sentence. It’s hard not to see the ban, and the highly symbolic timing of it, as a prudish political “shot across the bows” of art photographers, publishers and fetish groups in the UK. And possibly as a ‘stalking horse’ for a ban on more high-profile books like Madonna’s Sex and the work of photographers such as Robert Mapplethorpe and Ariki. Some of Westwood’s bondage pictures from the book are on Artnet and at the Erotic Prints website.

F**k Fashion (Amazon U.K. link) was published by the Erotic Print Society in 2005 and has…

“an introductory essay by author and journalist Stephen Bayley, one of Britain’s best-known cultural commentators”

I’ve never seen a copy, and it looks fairly tedious judging from the online pictures, but at the time of publication The Independent on Sunday newspaper wrote…

“The fruits of Ben’s obsessions are collected in his new monograph, F**k Fashion, a torrid burlesque of post-watershed sexual theatre, in which an array of women “no men are allowed to despoil this inverted Eden” romp in as abandoned a fashion as they can while bound, gagged and contorted. The more debauched the scenarios get, however, the more knockabout and innocuous they seem; style guru Stephen Bayley may quote Pepys, Havelock Ellis and Camus in his somewhat overheated foreword to the book, but Westwood himself calls the models his ‘dollys’, and prefers to invoke Benny Hill. ‘You know those girls who were always chasing him around in their French maids’ outfits?’ he recalls dreamily. ‘They were always attractive and wholesome girls, weren’t they? But they were definitely willing to be a bit naughty.’ “

If the book — and even mere possession of it — is to be banned in this way, then it seems Ben Westwood will either have to burn all his negatives and prints, or else store them outside the U.K. It would be ironic if, say, a Paris museum offered to store them for the duration.

Update: The Register has more coverage