Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell squeak down the catwalk in rubber dress and fashion editors rub people up to the shiny, smooth fabric - yet for some, fetishism is still unacceptable outside the mainstream.
Fortunately this is the idea. "With fetishism you can get away from the fixed notions of beauty," says Tim Woodward, editor of the fetish magazine Skin Two. "For instance, that you have to look like Claudia Schieffer, with long blonde hair and a skinny build. Fetishism is about sensuality and sex, from a more intellectual and open level."
The Skin Two Rubber Ball is the largest party for fetishists, dominatrixes and slaves, with a door policy in similar vein -strict. Party-goers must stretch their imaginations and wear either rubber, leather, shiny wetlook, stilettos, corsets or drag. There is no law against it, which is more than can be said of the actions of many door policy enforcers.
"I'll be wearing a genuine San Franscisco police uniform, but I am not suffering from any delusions about being one - it is a temporary metamorphosis," says Tim Woodward.
Permanent metamorphosis, is more likely to be found in the mainstream: tattoos and body piercing and Fergie's toe-sucking are all driven by the desire to metamorph or do something different. Except at the Rubber Ball you won't find censorious voyeurism. "There will be women of 60-plus at the ball. They are not going to look like models - of course, or camp guys won"t be as suave as Julian Clarey. But this is sensuality for everyone," Tim Woodward says.
The venue has been decorated by Louisa Mansfield, who has been eyed approvingly by fashion designer Jean-Paul Gaultier at previous parties. This year the interior was designed over many weeks and with the aid of 15-20 people, described as like a textured womb, with things that pop out. There will also be a fashion show, dancers, prizes and fetish art, with the proceeds going to charity.
Skin Two Rubber Ball, at the Hammersmith Palais, 242 Shepherd's Bush Road, London, 10pm-3am. Tickets: 0181 968 9692.