Lovely Legs: From the Tip of the Toes to the Top of the Hose

Running the gamut of gorgeous gams

The female leg is an erotic oddity: non-genital, and nearly identical in structure to the male limb, there is no obvious reason why it should be eroticized. Yet through much of history, across many cultures, the female leg was kept covered and treated as taboo, until it became an object of sexual obsession. In Victorian times, the word ’leg’ was forbidden in polite society, lest gentlemen be driven wild with lust. Even now, 80 years after women’s legs finally came out of hiding, their allure remains mysterious and powerful.

The third in Dian Hanson’s wildly successful series on erotic body parts explores how the female leg became central to women’s emacipation, from the French Revolution to the sexual revolution. Over 400 photos document the first burlesque shows of the 1800s, the silk-stockinged flappers of the 20s, the nylon-mania of the 40s, the dawn of the stiletto in the 50s, and the golden age of leg magazines in the 60s. Who wore the first high heels, how did nylons become a weapon of war, why were Betty Grable’s the "million dollar legs," where did Elmer Batters get his start, and just what is the deal with feet? The answers are all here, along with vintage photos by Irving Klaw, Peter Gowland, Bunny Yeager, Batters, and other great masters of leg art.
The editor and author:
Dian Hanson produced a variety of men’s magazines from 1976 to 2001, including Juggs, Outlaw Biker and Leg Show, before becoming TASCHEN’s Sexy Book editor. Her 60+ books for TASCHEN include The Art of Pin-up and Psychedelic Sex. She lives in Los Angeles.
 
The Big Book of Legs

The Big Book of Legs

Dian Hanson
Hardcover, 11.8 x 11.8 in., 372 pages
$ 59.99
Multilingual Edition: English, French, German
Availability: 08/2014
  • Reviews
"After the bountiful The Big Book of Breasts comes this smorgasboard of beautiful body parts. Taking in everything from naughty French postcards to Bond girls and burlesque pin-up Betty Page, this is a tribute to the dynamite combination of stockings, suspenders and lithe, long-limbed sirens."
— GQ, London, United Kingdom
  • See also
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The Art of Pin-up (XL-Format)
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One big slice of cheesecake, brought to you by Dian Hanson. This extra-large, extra-lush Collector's Edition offers the most complete compendium of pin-up artists ever compiled, with a special showcase of Gil Elvgren, George Petty, and Alberto Vargas.
  • Videos
The Big Book of Legs
From the Tip of the Toes to the Top of the Hose. Dian Hanson about the Big Book of Legs. July 2009