Fads and fancies

The magazine Fads and Fancies was published by Utopian Press. Utopian Press was initially set up to publish science fiction pamphlets, the editor and owner was Benson Herbert, already an experienced publisher. It was obvious from the start that he had a taste for the more exotic side of publishing, with many of the covers featuring pin-up style art work.

Eventually, Herbert gave up publishing science fiction and concentrated his efforts on producing saucy magazines. The law at the time would not allow any new periodicals to be published – that is, new titles intended to appear as regular editions on a weekly, monthly or quarterly basis. Herbert got around this hurdle by publishing each new monthly magazine as a one-off, with a different title every time, hence not a periodical. Titles that I am aware of include Carnival Capers, Sporty Stories, Blue Stories, Haywire, Snap, Cuban Capers, Hubba Hubba, and Heebee Jeebee.

Herbert found a niche in the fetish market, with the first Fads and Fancies being published as a supplement in Sporty Stories (January 1950). Fads and Fancies continued as a supplement in his other monthlies until June 1950, when it was published in its own right for the first time, with this issue being numbered as Volume 1 No 6 (labelled as just No 1 on the cover). It would appear that, from October 1950, the volume numbering was dropped.

Fads and Fancies was lavishly illustrated throughout by Reina M. Bull, who also signed her work RMB and, in all Fads and Fancies, as Janine. Janine’s artistry illuminates many written descriptions with drawings of voluptuous beauties in stockings, garters, bloomers, corsets, hats, and high heels. Her busty matrons present themselves, celebrating their own fleshy femininity adorned with lace, ruffles, bows and feathers.

The content is pretty much exclusively letters from readers, numbered consecutively for easy future reference. These cover a range of subjects and interests, including much talk about female underwear, heels, skirts, and up skirt views, with writers discussing knickers, panties, nylons, high heels, corsets, anklets, jewellery, cosmetics, hobble skirts, lace, garters, and horses.

Another well known illustrator some might recognize is Gene Bilbrew.

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