Paloma Faith performing at Brighton Pride in 2022, wearing a red Atsuko Kudo Lady P latex catsuit under an M.Fiction wetlook coat
With a few notable exceptions, celebrities who appear in public in latex — especially those at the Hollywood end of celeb culture — tend to do it primarily to draw media attention to themselves rather than because they are expressing any genuine affinity with kink.
However, this is not an accusation that can be levelled at British singer Paloma Faith. Before her successful career as a chanteuse, she was a trained dancer who performed at burlesque events and — gasp! — at actual Torture Garden parties!
During her subsequent singing career Paloma has performed in a lot of latex, and this article samples just a small selection of her many memorable appearances in our favourite fabric.
The earliest, specifically latex-related reference to the singer Google offered us was a delightful exchange of tweets (sadly now bereft of its picture) from July 2010. This was when designer Lady Lucie tweeted a pic of Paloma backstage at Lovebox Festival wearing her latex, and Ms Faith replied: “I think your stuff is amazing! I want to own a whole house made of latex!”
That is surely an ambition she could quite easily have fulfilled by now. But whether she actually settled for a home with just a large wardrobe full of latex or an entire dressing room stuffed with it, there is little doubt that her love of latex is more than just skin deep.
Ten years ago, Paloma wore this William Wilde red latex dress with contrast white top section and neck bow in Comic Relief TV show
For example, some ten years ago in March 2013, she wowed British TV viewers watching Graham Norton’s Big Chat Show for Comic Relief (the BBC’s annual charity fundraiser) by performing in an all-latex ensemble. She wore a William Wilde red latex dress with contrast white blouse-style top section and giant red and white check bow at the neck, which she accessorised with a red latex beret from Atsuko Kudo. The dress was auctioned after her performance and appears to have been snapped up for a final bid of $4,460!
Wilde was again designer for Paloma Faith’s 2014 Roundhouse concert; she wore his white Tuxedo Blouse and black Lolita leggings
Then the following year — nine years ago this very week, in fact — she made a big impression on the Press covering her concert at London’s Roundhouse in another William Wilde outfit. This time it was a sleeveless white latex Tuxedo Blouse with flared peplum, mock shirt-front detailing and attached black bow-tie, which she wore with black Lolita Leggings from the same designer.
Brighton 2022: Paloma before and after shedding her coat to reveal Atsuko Kudo Lady P latex catsuit and matching red thighboots
Jump forward a few years and latex-loving Paloma was hitting the headlines again in August 2022 at Brighton Pride, where she performed on the open-air stage in a bright red latex Atsuko Kudo Lady P Catsuit with bra-top styling. The catsuit, with perfectly matched red platform thighboots, was only fully revealed when she flung off the shiny red, ruche-sleeved, M.Fiction coat she’d been wearing over it.
However, there are those who contend 2023 is currently shaping up to be a real vintage year for the London singer and her long love affair with latex.
At Vogue’s 2023 BAFTAs after-party Paloma Faith wore a black latex Atsuko Kudo Joy body and stockings beneath pink fabric dress
In February this year, Paloma attended the British Vogue/Tiffany & Co Fashion And Film BAFTA after-party, at which she schmoozed with the likes of Joan Collins while clad in a black Atsuko Kudo Joy Body and matching latex stockings worn under a pink (non-latex) dress. Or, if you went with the Mail Online description, it was a pink dress with a black PVC top section. Or, according to another report, a patent leather dress. Well you know what they say: you can lead a hack to latex, but you can’t make them think!
Coronation: Paloma reprises Atsuko Kudo latex body/stockings, with Roksanda dress (left) for show and Westwood look backstage
And finally, to bring things right up to date (in one sense, anyway): can you guess what Paloma Faith did for her Coronation performance earlier this month? She reprised February’s striking latex-and-fabric theme, wearing the same Atsuko Kudo black latex body and stockings (with added gloves) but topping the latex with a different contrasting dress — this time a voluminous style by Roksanda. In some pictures shot under stage lighting this dress looks pink, but we’re fairly confident it was actually more towards the red end of things because its designer chose the red version above for her Instagram — and why would she do that if not?
Paloma already had her latex on for earlier backstage interviews, but at that time it was combined with a Vivienne Westwood ensemble in homage to the late designer. The outfit was accessorised with some very dangerous neckwear that, wisely perhaps, was discarded for the actual performance!
FAB.LONDON, the fetish/alternative store launched by our ex-Libidex colleague Max Deviant back in 2016, has just notched up its seventh birthday as an independent retailer in London’s Camden Stables Market.
Originally called FAB (Fetish Alternative Boutique), the shop started out sharing a modest retail unit with a kink-friendly hairdresser. Even so, at launch, Max managed to pack more than two dozen brands — ranging from fresh new designers to well-known fetish names — into his half of Unit 87-E.
With Max and his partner Marnie Scarlet (still an important member of our Libidex design team) among the best known (and friendliest) couples on the London scene, the venture enjoyed the support of a great number of industry people. In the age of internet retailing, the arrival of a new bricks-and-mortar fetish shop, however compact, was something to be celebrated. And of course Camden was a great retailing location.
The business thrived — to the point where, some 20 months later, FAB was able to start the process of relocating to a much larger, sole occupancy space at Unit 456 in the basement of the Stables Market next to Cyberdog. The new store opened on March 21, 2017 with a typically well-attended ‘Max and Marnie’ launch party sprinkled with a predictable amount of fetish celebrity stardust.
With a lot more space, Max was able to increase the brands he stocked. While continuing his main focus on pieces from small, independent artisanal clothing/accessory designers and artists (including some exclusive styles by Marnie), he was, to his great delight, now also able to add footwear in the form of a selection of Pleaser shoes and boots in both male and female sizes!
The expanded store in its new location quickly became a fetish shopping fixture — a must-do both for Londoners and visitors from far and wide. It offered good potential for in-store events, among which, in June 2019, was another memorable FAB gathering. This one marked the opening night of LA photographer Steve Diet Goedde’s UK tour promoting his new book Extempore, published by Circa Press.
Like many ‘non-essential’ retail businesses, FAB struggled when Covid hit. But it managed to keep going, with Max using lockdown to work on his long-promised website and continue developing the online retailing potential of his Facebook presence.
In June 2021 the shop, now rebranded as FAB.LONDON, moved again — to its current upper level Stables Market location at Unit 99a. It would be another year before the FAB.LONDON website went live, but with the subsequent addition of an Instagram page, the business can now claim to have fully embraced both bricks-and-mortar and online fetish retailing.
Today FAB’s Facebook page — still its primary notice board — is an almost daily source of announcements of new stock additions and special offers, and a testimony to Max’s keen eye for fetish/alternative creative talent.
Just scrolling down most recent Facebook posts around the FAB.LONDON birthday revealed promotions for items as varied as Alejandra Guerrero’s photo book Wicked Women; Broke Boutique’s upcycled Reverse bra and knickers set; Bloodlust Clothing’s Starman vegan leather Bralette; Angelic’s Zeus leather face mask; Scott McDonnell’s Byzantine chainmail flogger; artist Ananda Sanchez’s digitally printed Shibari artwork; Amentium’s latex Strapless Mini Dress; Am Statik’s latex Snood Top; Ada Zanditon’s PVC Cage Bra and Collar Set with Chains… the list goes on and on.
The ever-growing, ever-changing FAB.London stock regularly features new pieces and lines exclusive to the store, as well as discounted stock across its whole range. So here’s wishing Max and Marnie a Happy FAB.LONDON Birthday — and a long life to this veritable bazaar of the bizarre and beautiful in bustling Camden Town!
Italian brand Cherry Latex (above) is due to make its GFB debut on the German Fetish Ball 2023 catwalk
In a few days’ time, the 2023 German Fetish Ball Weekend — the international fetish scene’s most prestigious gathering and biggest annual celebration of latex fashion and fetish — will kick off in Berlin.
This year’s festival, from Wednesday to Sunday May 17-21, returns to its full–scale pre-covid form, with five days of events headlined by the German Fetish Ball itself on Saturday May 20, making a welcome return to riverside venue Spindler & Klatt.
Angela Ryan and Dan Miga (above) are bringing Dan Miga Designs latex and leather styles from Texas to the Ball catwalk
Seven designers are scheduled to feature in the fashion show (following the withdrawal of BlackLickorish Latex owing to production pressures back in LA). The brands on show will be Cherry Latex, Dan Miga Designs, Ero Chains, Jaded Jewall, Lady Lucie Latex, Tarza & Jane and Tysk Berlin.
London-based Lady Lucie Latex (above) is returning to Berlin this year for a second appearance at the Ball
Exhibitor list for the two-day German Fetish Fair (Fri-Sat May 19-20, at Magazin in der Heeresbäckerei as usual) was showing 26 exhibitors when last updated on April 6. Latex-related brands exhibiting include Amentium, beGLOSS, Black Surprise, Chronomatic, Crea Fx, Cyberesque/Kalinoor, Feitico, Inner Sanctum, Latex 101, Maniac Latex, Peter Domenie and Rose Noir Designs.
First event in the official German Fetish Ball 2023 programme is Wednesday 27’s GFB Kinky Cocktails, once again held at rooftop bar 260 Grad. This is a free-entry, dresscode-optional event.
Popular Berlin latex brand Chronomatic (above) will be exhibiting at the German Fetish Ball 2023’s two-day Fetish Fair
The following afternoon, Thursday 18, sees the return of the GFB Spree Cruise. Although also dresscode-optional, the cruise traditionally sees a boatful of mainly latex-clad revellers making good-natured exhibitions of themselves to appreciative Berliners they pass on the banks of the river.
The evening of Thursday 18 is devoted to GFB Sonic BOOM, the first strict dresscode party of the programme, held at Matrix, the Ball’s old venue. This pre-party for industry participants and ticketholders is always rammed and helps everyone get in the mood for the even bigger events to follow.
Berlin’s Maniac Latex (above), which specialises in men’s styles, will show men’s and women’s latex at the Fair
After the first Fair day on Friday 19, FetishGuerilla Revolution will return on Friday night for its traditional KitKat party. There’ll be performances by Superfly 1.3%, Martini Cherry Furter, Lolita Va Voom, Princess Tweedle Needle and Mademoiselle Opossum, plus a line-up of 14 spinmeisters including Vancouver Fetish Weekend’s DJ Pandemonium and Evilyn13.
After Saturday night’s Ball, festivities conclude with Sunday 21’s traditional GFB Breakfast & Farewell at the Alex restaurant. But some GFB veterans claim that if you make it to this brunch before it closes at 2.30pm, you obviously haven’t been partying hard enough on the four preceding nights!
Vancouver Fetish Weekend co-hosts Evilyn13 and DJ Pandemonium (above) are among FetishGuerilla’s KitKat DJs (Jonny Ray Studio)
With nothing much happening in the next few days, perhaps you’re looking for something distracting to entertain you on what would otherwise be just another ordinary May weekend?
If so, how about bingeing on some classic fetish and BDSM movies from the last 50 years or so?
Below, we’ve chosen 20 favourites from the last five decades of movie-making that might provide some inspiration. We’re not offering them to you as a ‘Top 20’ chart; instead, we’ve ordered our choices by decade and year. That way, you can dip in and sample something from any point in fetish movie history that interests you.
Each listing here is accompanied by a link to a trailer for the movie. For convenience we’ve standardised on trailers found on YouTube (when available there), and in some cases, you’ll find the movies on YouTube too.
But do bear in mind that YouTube is not necessarily a great platform for kink content and any movies you find there will not necessarily be the most complete versions discoverable online — if you know what we mean!
Promo for The Night Porter (1974) using one of the film’s most iconic images of Charlotte Rampling
1974: THE NIGHT PORTER
Dirk Bogarde and Charlotte Rampling star in this controversial Italian movie which has been an enduring influence on fetish fashion and art. A former concentration camp officer working in a Vienna hotel in 1957 is discovered there by an ex-inmate with whom he had a wartime sadomasochistic relationship. The couple try to rekindle their affair; what could possibly go wrong?
The Night Porter: Trailer
1975: THE STORY OF O (HISTORE D’O)
Based on the 1954 novel by Pauline Réage and directed by Just Jaeckin (who later made 1984’s The Perils of Gwendoline), this fairly faithful adaptation of the book that gave us lasting BDSM archetypes (O herself and Sir Stephen) and locations (Roissy) ran into predictable trouble with the British censor.
The Story of O: Trailer
1976: IN THE REALM OF THE SENSES (AI NO CORRIDA)
This controversial French-Japanese co-production directed by Nagisa Öshima is based on real events that took place n 1930s Japan. It tells the story of a former prostitute working as a hotel maid who becomes sexually obsessed with her employer. Their romance quickly descends into a very dangerous sexual fixation with dreadful consequences.
In the Realm of the Senses: Trailer
Barbette Schroeder’s groundbreaking French sex comedy includes some of the most explicit scenes of fetishism and sadomasochism seen in a mainstream European film. Dominatrix Bulle Ogier catches Gérard Depardieu (in an early lead role) burgling her dungeon apartment, and they begin a love affair — in charge of which she clearly is.
Kim Basinger’s character crawling across the floor for her master (played by Mickey Rourke) in 9½ Weeks (1986)
1985: SEDUCTION: THE CRUEL WOMAN
Monika Treut’s debut film, inspired by Sacher-Masoch’s Venus in Furs, features a Hamburg dominatrix who lures all kinds into her sadomasochistic world and charges audiences to watch. Does her fate lie in the hands of her female lover turned assistant mistress, her motherly shoe fetishist lover or her slave husband?
Seduction: The Cruel Woman: Trailer
1986: 9½ WEEKS
Adrian Lyne’s erotic romantic drama starring Kim Basinger and Mickey Rourke was the precursor for a slew of modern glossy BDSM fantasies featuring wealthy dominant men called Gray or Grey. Relatively tame but regarded as too explicit for US release without heavy editing, it subsequently became a big international hit.
9½ Weeks: Trailer
1989: TIE ME UP! TIE ME DOWN!
This dark romantic comedy was Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar’s follow-up to his big international success with Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown. Recently released psychiatric patient Antonio Banderas kidnaps porn star Victoria Abril, who falls in love with him and demands to be bound. We’ve all been there.
Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! Trailer
Jennifer Tilly appearing to be a bit tied up in the Wachowskis’ debut movie Bound (1996)
1992: TOKYO DECADENCE (TOPAZU)
Directed by Ryü Murakami with music by Ryüichi Sakamato, this tale of a timid Tokyo student working as a prostitute catering for perverted men was banned in some countries for its ‘cruel and graphic’ nature. By which they probably mean the sodomy, S&M, submission, bondage, asphyxiation and other fun stuff.
Tokyo Decadence: Trailer
Later famed as Matrix directors, the Wachowskis made their debut with crime thriller Bound, which put Jennifer Tilly and Gina Gershon into situations so like American bondage magazine images, it couldn’t be a coincidence. The film was praised for its style, humour and authentic mainstream depiction of a lesbian relationship.
David Cronenberg’s erotic thriller based on JG Ballard’s novel continued the controversy Ballard stoked with depictions of sex instigated by violence and, specifically, car crashes (as fetishised by symphorophiliacs). Starring James Spader, Holly Hunter and Rosanna Arquette, it won a Cannes Special Jury Prize and was banned by Westminster Council.
Directed by renowned British documentary-maker Nick Broomfield, Fetishes (originally made for HBO) explores New York’s legendary professional dungeon Pandora’s Box, presided over by Mistress Raven. Footage of Bettie Page opens the film, and topics covered thereafter include slaves, mistresses, rubber and wrestling fetishes, corporal punishment, masochism, infantilism and socio-political fetishes.
1997: PREACHING TO THE PERVERTED
Stuart Urban’s fanciful but endearing morality tale/love story pitching late-’90s British fetish clubbing culture (presided over here by Guinevere Turner’s American dominatrix) against killjoy politicians has achieved cult status with fetish audiences. Features lots of contemporary fetish performers and a host of British acting talent including a young Julie Graham.
Preaching to the Perverted: Trailer
Gretchen Mol as pin-up turned bondage model Bettie, flexing her muscles in The Notorious Bettie Page (2005)
Quills, starring Geoffrey Rush, is a fictionalised account of the ten years the Marquis de Sade spent in Charenton insane asylum. Also starring Kate Winslet, this highly acclaimed production was described by its creators as an exploration of censorship, pornography, sex, art, mental illness and religion rather than a biography.
This erotic/romantic comedy-drama addresses sadomasochism with a light and affectionate touch not always associated with such subject matter. A young woman (Maggie Gyllenhaal) gets a secretarial position with a very exacting lawyer (James Spader) who rapidly escalates their work relationship into a consensual sub-dom love affair.
2005: THE NOTORIOUS BETTIE PAGE
With a screenplay by director Mary Harron and actress Guinevere Turner (who had starred in 1997’s Preaching To The Perverted), this biopic follows the progress of Bettie (Gretchen Mol) from naïve Nashville God-botherer to bondage queen for Irving Klaw, meeting the legendary John Willie (Jared Harris) along the way.
The Notorious Bettie Page: Trailer
Krista Kosonen as Mona, the dominatrix encountered by a grieving surgeon in Finnish movie Dogs Don’t Wear Pants (2019)
2013: VENUS IN FUR
Roman Polanksi’s erotic drama is a film based on a play about a play inspired by a novel (the title of which you can probably guess). An actress turns up late for an audition with the play’s writer-director, and it transpires she is unexpectedly well-suited to the sub/dom subject matter.
Venus in Fur: Trailer
2014: THE DUKE OF BURGUNDY
Peter Strickland’s film is an intelligent, impressively nuanced exploration of the psychological arc of real dom-sub relationships as opposed to their fantasy iterations. It depicts a lesbian mistress-maid affair between a lecturer (Sidse Babette Knudsen) and student (Chira D’Anna) but could equally apply to a hetero or gay male relationship.
The Duke of Burgundy: Trailer
2017: EX-DOMINATRIX: A TRUE STORY
Made by ex-London fetish scenester Darren Cavanagh, this documentary tells the story of legendary hardcore dominatrix Mistress Lucrezia, aka Goddess Ira, whose world turned upside down when a British client died in her Antwerp dungeon. She lost everything, was locked-up, pilloried by the tabloids and eventually chose to leave Belgium.
Ex-Dominatrix: A True Story: Trailer
2017: PROFESSOR MARSTON AND THE WONDER WOMAN
Charming biopic about the man who created comic heroine Wonder Woman and also invented the lie detector. Marston was a keen BDSM afficionado who brought this influence into his work whenever possible, albeit in apparently ‘innocent’ guises. Diana Prince found herself tied, caged, paddled, gagged and kidnapped in the comic’s early issues.
Professor Marston and the Wonder Woman: Trailer
2019: DOGS DON’T WEAR PANTS
One of the most interesting recent films referencing BDSM, this Finnish erotic black comedy is about an emotionally numbed, widowed surgeon whose chance encounter with a dominatrix makes him start to feel again. At first he seems like a sad and potentially suicidal loser, but eventually a corner is turned.
Dogs Don’t Wear Pants: Trailer