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Strap it up: a brief history of fashion’s love affair with the condom

From TLC’s 90s red carpet looks and Julia Fox’s camp condom top, to Gaultier’s longstanding crusade for safe sex, we chart the prophylactics’ rubbery grip on fashion history

Whether used for artistic shock value or to spark important conversations, the humble condom has long permeated the cultural zeitgeist and continues to slap conservative media in the face with blazing bravado. Who could forget the time this very magazine had Azealia Banks blowing up a rubber johnny on its cover in 2012, which led to it being banned in seven countries? 

But this summer particularly, there’s something in the air. From the massive pile of red Durex boxes at Diesel’s AW23 show, to Rihanna's recent showcasing of an oversized “USE A CONDOM” tee – donned to promote her tongue-in-cheek Savage x Fenty collection I’m A Virgin and indebted to the sexual politics of Katharine Hamnett – condoms continue their streak of cropping up across fashion. 

With that in mind, strap in as we trace its history – from TLC’s red carpet looks in the 90s to recent campaigns from Gaultier and Glenn Martens.