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 BIRTHDAY: founder Max Deviant and partner Marnie Scarlet, in her Laser Cut Latex Set made exclusively for FAB
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.
Interior view of FAB.LONDON store in current first level location at Unit 99a Camden Stables Market, Chalk Farm Rd, London NW1 8AH
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.
Ada Zanditon’s PVC Cage Bra and Collar Set with Chains (left), and Bloodlust Clothing’s Starman vegan leather Bralette
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.
Am Statik’s Latex Snood Top (left), and Chicago photographer Alejandra Guerrero’s book Wicked Women, 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.
Amentium’s Strapless Latex Mini Dress (left), and Broke Boutique’s upcycled Reverse Bra and Knickers Set
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.
Scott McDonnell’s Byzantine Chain Flogger (left) and Angelic’s Zeus Leather Face Mask
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!
L-R: Miss Katie London Classic Overbust Corset; Rose Noir Patterned Latex Crop Top and Skirt; TG Clothing Galore Latex Catsuit
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!
German Fetish Ball official site
German Fetish Ball ticket page
Vancouver Fetish Weekend co-hosts Evilyn13 and DJ Pandemonium (above) are among FetishGuerilla’s KitKat DJs (Jonny Ray Studio)
Fetish on film: Bulle Ogier (left) taking care of business as the dominatrix in Barbette Schroeder’s Maitresse (1976)
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
We’re sure a lot of Libidex lovers are looking forward to giving their latex an airing at one or more of the fetish parties and festivals returning to kink’s international calendar over the next few months.
So it’s disappointing to see complaints on social media this week that Meta (owner of Facebook and Instagram) might be having another of its occasional ‘kink purges’. The last one, back in early 2021, involved a crackdown on people using the hashtag #latex, and led to indiscriminate bans, takedowns and account deletions of people posting latex images that were mostly non-explicit fashion shots.
This time, there are fears that those irrepressible Meta bots are set on causing problems for organisers of fetish events. Perhaps the very events you’d be interested in attending… if you could only find out about them.
Vancouver Fetish Weekend promoter Isaac Terpstra certainly caused a stir when he posted on Facebook earlier this week: “It’s looking very much like the Vancouver Fetish Weekend Instagram account has been taken down for ‘soliciting sexual so and so’, despite logging a dispute. FFS. Beyond brutal.”
He added: “I appealed it when it first was taken down, and it said, we'll review it, and if your dispute is successful, you’ll be able to access it within 24 hours. For 24 hours it was disabled, but then it was actually gone.”
Happily, after Isaac “dug up an even deeper way of disputing it”, the Canadian summer festival’s page was reinstated — although he admitted he would be holding his breath for another day or two to see if it was going to stick. “Ugh, so stressful!” he complained.
His post attracted a flurry of responses from other event hosts reporting similar problems. Florida Fetish Weekend organiser Glenn Catapano, who has had endless problems with Facebook over the years, commented:
“We live this hell every day as a business. By putting the word fetish in our brand, we shoot ourselves in the foot. My livelihood is constantly at risk.”
Davide LaPara of Montreal’s Cirque de Boudoir commented: “We lost our Instagram and had no recourse… had to start over with a new account.”
René de Parade, host of the German Fetish Ball Weekend, wrote: “I had this three times now. Algorithm takes it down, I click the review button, 24 hours later, page is gone. I go to the help site, request a manual review and the site is up again. And the next day the algorithm takes it down again.”
While London’s Torture Garden did not join in this specific thread, it too is known to have had its share of social media problems. So being the world’s biggest fetish partying brand is no guarantee of immunity either.
But despite what victims of these actions often believe, it’s unlikely that these takedowns were triggered by ‘haters’ making complaints. In the case of 2021’s so-called ‘latex ban’, there was a far more prosaic explanation.
Basically, the bots were encountering such wide use of #latex by accounts promoting banned sexual services and porn that other, legitimate users of the hashtag became collateral damage — like dolphins caught in a tuna net.
So there may be an alternative explanation for what some fear to be a new crusade against kink by Instagram and co. It could just be that after almost three years of little or no fetish event activity because of the pandemic, this year’s return to full service has registered as a sufficiently unusual spike to trigger automatic algorithmic countermeasures.
If so, things should settle down a bit in due course. But in the meantime, for event info, remember that most events have their own websites that are not vulnerable to the arbitrary decision-making of social media algorithms!
Cirque de Boudoir
Florida Fetish Weekend
German Fetish Ball Weekend
Vancouver Fetish Weekend
Vancouver Fetish Weekend co-host Isaac Terpstra: stressed out by Instagram takedown
Vancouver Fetish Weekend co-host Isaac Terpstra: stressed out by Instagram takedown
Vancouver Fetish Weekend co-host Isaac Terpstra, aka DJ Pendemonium
Libidex Blog Celebrity Beatrix Devine catches some late sun during Vancouver Fetish Weekend
Vancouver Fetish Weekend provides great views of the Canadian city’s skyline and, er, more…
Aerial performance by Felix Volatile at Montreal’s Cirque de Boudoir (photo: @Jo Gorsky)
RubberFreak captured in one of Florida Fetish Weekend’s various open-air settings
Ready To Ship range by Lady Lucie Latex, one of the brands on this year’s German Fetish Ball catwalk
Alejandra Guerrero, the Chicago-based photographer who had a big hit back in 2020 with her first fetish photography monograph, Wicked Women, expects to have her second book out this autumn with the same publisher (London’s Circa Press).
Titled Auto Erotica, the new book combines two of Guerrero’s enduring interests: powerful cars and even more powerful women!
“This collection of vignettes features not only captivating models but also an assortment of cars as protagonists,” she says. “I started working on this project nine years ago, keeping the majority of the work unpublished. Now, I feel it's finally ready to be released, showcasing many never-before-seen photos.
“In Auto Erotica,” she continues, “I draw upon my lifelong passion for cars, stemming from childhood memories of sitting in my mother's Mercedes and watching my mechanical engineer father fix up cool cars. These experiences inspired an adult fascination that eventually led to this electrifying body of work, following the success of Wicked Women.
Set to be crafted in Belgium with fine art paper, featuring striking duotone and colour offset-lithographic printing and a beautiful binding, Auto Erotica promises to a feast for the senses — something for which all Circa’s fetish and erotic photography books are renowned.
Another thing this publisher is known for is producing high quality books that sell at half the price they would retail at using the traditional publishing industry approach. Circa’s ‘secret’ is that it crowdfunds its high-end projects on Kickstarter, setting targets that enable it to cover the bulk of upfront production and, especially, printing costs.
As long as the publisher has set the target correctly, the book gets printed and delivered to everyone who pledged support in return for one of the rewards on offer. And every book sold after all advance orders and rewards are fulfilled is then profit that keeps the publishing business going.
Auto Erotica’s Kickstarter campaign began about a week ago and runs until mid-May. The campaign target is £22,500 and at the time of writing, the chances of reaching it were looking good.
For supporters of the campaign, ten levels of reward are on offer, from a basic £60 for a signed copy of the book up to £2,500 for a very fancy boxed collector’s edition including signed prints. And beyond that there’s the offer of an Alejandra Guerrero photo-shoot for a supporter and partner.
You can read all about the Auto Erotica campaign, see images from the book and check out all the rewards on offer by clicking on the link below.
To judge from the column inches devoted to it by the British Press in the run-up to its release on Thursday April 13, the Netflix miniseries Obsession could turn out to be the streaming service’s equivalent to the Fifty Shades trilogy.
Equivalent, that is, in the sense that it may well tap into a massive audience for the kind of ‘vanillarised’ BDSM relationship drama that was peddled so profitably by the E L James books and movies.
Whether Obsession can successfully engage both kink curious and/or romantically adventurous mainstream viewers and those who would consider themselves fetish and BDSM literate remains to be seen. From what has been gleanable before its release, it could go either way.
This four-part series (dropped in one bingeable bundle) certainly has rather more respectable antecedents than 50 Shades. It’s based on the late Josephine Hart’s critically acclaimed 1991 novel Damage, which in 1992 was made into a film by Louis Malle starring Jeremy Irons, Juliette Binoche, Miranda Richardson, Rupert Graves and Ian Bannen.
As in Damage, Obsession depicts an intense affair between talented medic William (Richard Armitage) and his son’s fiancée Anna (Charlie Murphy) that spirals into a dangerous, all-consuming obsession with devastating consequences for the whole family.
The precise nature of that obsession is good old domination/submission, which was restricted in Malle’s film to the realm of the psychological. At least in this new adaptation, the sub-dom theme is physically manifested, albeit through the softly-softly medium of silk rope and ribbons, and at least one blindfold that looks to have been borrowed straight from the 1986 Kim Bassinger and Micky Rourke movie 9½ Weeks.
Equally importantly, Obsession’s narrative has been rotated through 180 degrees by screenwriter Morgan Lloyd Malcolm, with events now seen from the viewpoint of submissive girlfriend Anna, rather than the dominant surgeon William’s male gaze presented in the Damage novel and film.
In one press article, Lloyd Malcolm is quoted as saying it was really important “not to be saying anything like ‘BDSM sex is bad sex’, and that for her, it was all about “who is in control” of the relationship. “For me it was always Anna,” she says, “every single scenario.”
It’s a viewpoint that Charlie Murphy, playing Anna, also endorses: “She is completely in control … She is the dominant submissive, and the power she gives to him is a very cathartic experience for her.”
For viewers, will Obsession (which also stars Indira Varma and Rish Shah) prove to be an equally cathartic experience or a mere feather’s tickle on the BDSM impact play scale? That will become clear soon enough!
First two photos Anna’s wrists are bound by William in Obsession (Netflix)
William blindfolds Anna in Obsession (Netflix)
Anna (Charlie Murphy) and William (Richard Armitage) embrace in Obsession (Netflix)
Anna (Charlie Murphy) is fed by William (Richard Armitage) in Obsession (Netflix)
Richard Armitage plays dominant medic William in Obsession (Netflix)
Charlie Murphy plays submissive Anna in Obsession (Netflix)
Anna (Charlie Murphy) and William (Richard Armitage) in Obsession (Netflix)
We’re sometimes asked by customers whether Libidex, like other latex brands, ever supplies latex clothing to makers of movies, TV/streaming dramas or music videos. The answer is yes, we most certainly do! But we haven’t promoted this side of our work as much as some whose designs you might see sported by celebs on social media.
However, since there is obvious interest in our own collaborations in this area, our intention is for the Libidex Blog to bring you more of these stories from now on. And we’re going to start with our very substantial contribution of latex to a streaming series globally on Disney+ and on Hulu in the USA.
And when we say “very substantial”, we don’t mean a couple of outfits for some aspiring popster to wear in their promo video. We mean a whole shop-full of the stuff!
How did it come about? Rewind to autumn 2020, which is when we were approached by Lettie Grumbarl, the project’s art director. She asked Libidex to supply the latex clothes for Pistol, the biographical miniseries created for FX by Craig Pearce, directed by Danny Boyle and based on Steve Jones’s book Lonely Boy: Tales from a Sex Pistol.
Lettie — whose previous art department includes Florence Foster Jenkins, Entebbe, The King, Emma, and The Great — explained that the clothes would be displayed on the rails of a recreation of Vivienne Westwood and Malcom McLaren’s iconic King’s Road shop SEX. In total the production company wanted to rent 50 Libidex pieces, which we were very happy to provide.
We were informed that the latex would only be used as set dressing and not worn. So it was a very pleasant surprise to see lead actor Anson Boon (who plays Johnny Rotten) trying on our Ashleigh Hood in his opening scene. There is a full close-up scene featuring “Johnny’s” mouth behind the hood’s open lips.
A few episodes further on, we were as delighted to see Talulah Riley, who plays Vivienne Westwood, holding one of our suspender belts during a poignant scene in which she delivers a passionate speech to two teenage girls about freeing women from the oppression of the patriarchy. We’re sure everyone will agree that nothing says ‘freedom from patriarchal oppression’ like a Libidex latex suspender belt!
You can see the Libidex latex we provided scattered all around the show’s SEX shop, which was recreated for the project right down to the bright pink latex SEX sign adorning the entrance. Visible throughout the series’ six episodes are myriad Libidex stockings, hoods, tops and skirts hanging on rails and displayed on wall-mounted mannequins.
But hang on a minute, we hear you saying! The stylish latex that Libidex designs and makes is light years ahead of the kind of basic black sex shop/mail order rubber fetish gear that was actually available to stock Westwood and McLaren’s shop in the mid-1970s! And you are not wrong.
This, we admit, was where a bit of artistic licence was unavoidable. But it did mean that at least the atmosphere — and, for the actors, the full fragrance! — of a shop full of 50 items of rubberwear was faithfully recreated. Albeit with pieces less basic and more stylish looking than anything that would have actually been found at SEX all those decades ago!
Watch the Pistol trailer here:
First six images below show Johnny Rotten (Anson Boon) in Pistol’s SEX shop; all but one show him trying on our Ashleigh latex hood.
The actors playing the four Sex Pistols recreate a band photo in front of a US tour bus
Maisie Williams in latex for her role as Jordan, in Pistol’s recreated SEX shop
Maisie Williams in latex for her role as Jordan, in Pistol’s recreated SEX shop
Jordan (Maisie Williams) in latex for her role in Pistol
Sid Vicious (Louis Partridge) and Johnny Rotten (Anson Boon) on stage in Pistol
Band members (right) arrive at Pistol’s recreation of Westwood & McLaren’s Kings Road shop SEX
Jordan (Maisie Williams) dressed for the English weather in Pistol
Jordan (Maisie Williams) makes a first class job of her daily commute in Pistol
Latex-clad Jordan (Maisie Williams) with Siouxsie (Beth Dillon) looking on in Pistol
Many Libidex fans will be aware that all our latex garments are made with latex from our sister company Radical Rubber, one of the world’s largest supplier of sheet latex intended specifically for clothing manufacture.
However, a very talented British artist by the name of Michelle Mildenhall has been proving for more than a decade now that sheet latex can have other creatively fetishistic applications too!
Based on England’s south coast, Michelle creates pop art style portraits — many of them with kinky themes — using the very same sheet latex that the scene’s top designers use for their garments.
Michelle first experimented with latex as an art medium while studying textiles and surface pattern at Somerset College of Arts. But it was only later, while working as a commercial graphic artist in London, that she saw the potential for using latex to “create something unique in the art world”.
“The idea came in a flash of inspiration while I was working on a latex outfit for myself,” she reveals. She began experimenting with building up images by layering carefully cut pieces of latex in a way that created highly stylised portraits — kinky caricatures, you might even call them — from a minimal number of elements and a narrow palette of colours.
Her portraits range from instantly recognisable figures such as Queen Elizabeth. David Bowie, Marilyn Monroe, Frida Kahlo, Margaret Thatcher and Vladimir Putin (some given humorous makeovers), to various more fetishy or BDSM-themed characters (for which she is sometimes also the model), such as gagged, blindfolded, collared, masked or hooded women.
Her portraits are created first as large originals in layered latex, and these original pieces can be purchased. But she also makes archival photographic images of each piece, and these are used not only to recreate any latex original should one be requested, but also to produce more affordable print versions on fine art paper, ready for framing.
Michelle’s work is regularly exhibited ‘in the flesh’ in the UK and beyond, both at mainstream galleries and venues or events with more of an alternative association. He most recent work, Guardsman?, featuring a ceremonial royal guard wearing a bearskin, lipstick and eye shadow, was created for the exhibition Women of Mass Distraction, which runs until April 6 at Stella Dore Gallery in St Leonards, East Sussex.
Meanwhile at London’s East Art Gallery in Hackney Wick until April 7, Michelle has two original latex pieces alongside some handmade spanking paddles and some prints in the gallery’s Kink exhibition, which also features the work of 40 other artists of pervy inclination.
Michelle Mildenhall with her latest latex portrait “Guardsman?’
Michelle Mildenhall’s latest latex portrait ‘Guardsman?’ poses gender-bending question!
Michelle Mildenhall’s graphic for East Art Gallery’s Kink group show including her work
Handmade spanking paddle featuring detail from Michelle’s ‘Pervy Pussy’ portrait
Michelle Mildenhall print selection featuring some of her pervier images
Fetish fans in London and beyond who were looking forward this week to attending ZDR’s Gods & Monsters event on Saturday (March 25) at Ruby Blue, just off Leicester Square, were dismayed to be told on Tuesday that the party had been cancelled.
In an emotional message to ticketholders and newsletter subscribers, organiser Zara DuRose explained that she’d received a call from the venue management informing her that the licence for the event had been pulled, as a result of which Ruby Blue could no longer host the party.
For well-known latex enthusiast Zara, it was the final blow after four months of planning that, she says, were “the most stressful since I started organising events in 2015”.
“We’ve had multiple venue changes for reasons beyond our control,” she continues. “Mainly due to council restrictions and complaints sent to venues about adult events shortly after we announced the move.”
Gods & Monsters was originally set to go ahead at new venue The Forge in Camden. But owing to licensing issues, ZDR had to look for a replacement venue and, on January 24, announced a move to The Dome in Tufnell Park.
A week later, realising the Dome was actually too small to accommodate Gods & Monsters as envisaged, ZDR announced a second move, this time to an unnamed “spectacular warehouse location” in Manor House.
But that also fell through. However Ruby Blue, in the heart of London’s West End, looked like it would finally be able to provide the welcome this seemingly jinxed event so badly needed.
“When we met with the management,” says Zara, “they were aware of the nature of ZDR events. We were completely transparent and they were happy to host us.”
Sadly though, both sides may have underestimated the opposition to fetish events that seems to be spreading among London councils — and which already had a long history in Westminster (the council Ruby Blue comes under).
At such short notice, there was no possibility of finding yet another replacement venue on the same date, so ZDR took the decision to refund everyone’s ticket money via Eventbrite.
Zara is of course aware that ticket refunds alone can only ever be partial compensation for anyone who bought new outfits for the party, or booked non-refundable travel and/or accommodation. She also points out there’s “a huge team of people and performers who will lose out financially”.
Naturally she’s worried about the effect this succession of forced venue changes and the ultimate cancellation of Gods & Monsters could have on trust in her brand.
But in the last few years, fetish folk have grown accustomed to event promoters across the whole scene suffering venue problems beyond their control. So we doubt ZDR’s legion of fans will blame her for what’s just happened.
ZDR is already planning its next London event for June, promising that it will be organised on a different basis that it hopes will overcome the problems experienced while trying to host Gods & Monsters.
And if anyone needs a reminder that ZDR definitely does have what it takes to stage a first class event, may we refer you to last November’s much-acclaimed UK Fetish Awards which it co-hosted.
And we’re not just saying this because Libidex won Best UK Clothing Company there for the second year running. We think you probably already knew that anyway!
Zara DuRose: forced to cancel ZDR Gods & Monsters party after license was pulled
Ava Von Medisin was due to host a kinky installation at ZDR Gods & Monsters
Aerial performer Mala Sangre was due to appear at ZDR Gods & Monsters
ZDR Gods & Monsters flyer image detail featuring Zara DuRose
Zara DuRose (far left) with Libidex winners of Best UK Clothing Company at 2022 UK Fetish Awards
Fetish model, make-up artist and performer Beatrix Devine confesses that she’s been “addicted to latex” since first trying it on in early 2020.
Now, she travels all around North America modelling for latex brands, appearing at a variety of fetish events throughout the year.
At the time of writing, she’d just come off the runway at March’s New Orleans Fetish Ball, where she’d walked for one of the fetish scene’s longest and most respected corsetry brands, Dark Garden Unique Corsetry.
The previous weekend, she could be seen at the last ever edition of Houston’s Texas Latex Party, which has closed its doors after 30 years. She was walking for Dark Garden and Reneé Masoomian’s Baby Loves Latex brand.
At TLP, Beatrix also helped represent Dan Miga Designs, a new Dallas-based latex and leather brand founded by Miga and model Angela Ryan, at which Beatrix currently holds the joint positions of latex apprentice and IT manager!
Ms Devine is also a classical soprano and songwriter, and has been working with New York fetish impresario and music producer Xris SMack on a “genre-bending” music project to be released later this year.
Our photographs, shot by NYC-based Mark Maker Productions, feature Beatrix in her third Libidex catsuit — our Phantasm Inflatable Breast Catsuit.
“I love my Libidex catsuits and I can't wait to collect more!” she enthuses.
“I wore this gorgeous catsuit to last year’s Torture Garden Los Angeles event, styled in a ‘Malibu Barbie’ fashion with long blonde hair, pink and purple make-up, and shiny pink high heels.
“I got so many compliments on the fit of the catsuit, as well as the pink racer stripe details down the front and back. It was a hot summer night, but so worth it! I became my very own slip-n-slide!”
Between April and October this year, Beatrix already has around a dozen further appearances scheduled in cities including Chicago, Houston, New York, Fort Lauderdale, Minneapolis, Las Vegas, St Petersburg and Detroit, and doubtless more will be added to this list.
We’re not sure when we might see Ms Devine in person at a UK fetish event. But in the USA, it looks like it will be hard to miss her in 2023!
Image: Mark Maker Productions in Queens, NY.
Image: Mark Maker Productions in Queens, NY.
Image: Mark Maker Productions in Queens, NY.
At Paris Fashion Week nowadays, it seems to be not so much a question of if there’ll be any latex on show, but how much latex will be on show.
That was certainly the case at the PFW that finished in Paris earlier this week. And it would be fair to say the latex designer’s name on everyone’s lips at this event was Paris-based Arthur Avellano, who presented one of the Week’s final collections on Tuesday March 7.
Avellano’s young clothing brand has been gradually increasing its profile in celebrity fashion circles since Kanye West bought an Avellano coat as a gift for Julia Fox. The label’s creations soon started turning up on other celebs such as Kim Kardashian, Camille ‘Emily in Paris’ Razat and Katy Perry.
In late January, a month before the Paris fashion fest, the audience at London’s famous Heaven nightclub got an eyeful of Avellano’s design style (and more) when Rita Ora performed there in a figure-hugging trans pink one-shoulder gown from his Spring/Summer 2023 collection.
Underneath it, her modesty was preserved — as the tabloids say — by a thong and pasties. But, as one fashion pundit enthused, the transparent latex ensured that you could see all her tattoos. Yes — all of them!
But even Parisians didn’t have to wait for Tuesday’s official Avellano show to see his creativity on display. On Wednesday, Julia Fox turned up at PFW’s MAC event in a bright red Avellano latex coat and matching high-neck, floor-length gown that could have stopped traffic a kilometer away.
Tight on the body then flaring over the hips, and very shiny, this combo was seen in black in Avellano’s show, modelled by Munroe Bergdorf.
Not to be outdone, singer Noah Cyrus turned up to a couple of PFW events sporting shaved eyebrows and two different full-length Avellano latex styles: a fitted grey dress with matching coat and a blue, high-neck, backless floor-sweeping gown.
Avellano’s latest show displayed an impressive imagination at work, with smooth and draped latex and eye-catching body-con styles.
He has certainly been making good use of traditional and alternative iterations of latex, with garments in 3D-printed latex and Datex, a fabric-backed latex that can be sewn.
But perhaps smartest of all, given his target market of affluent fashionistas with little time for the preparatory rituals rubber-lovers enjoy, he employs chlorination, which gives latex an outer sheen that doesn’t need polishing and inner surfaces that don’t require talc or lube to aid dressing.
Couture as a term has been over-used by latex brands in the past. But you can see why Avellano lays claim to it — and prices his creations accordingly!
Singer Rita Ora in figure-hugging, trans-pink, one-shoulder Avellano latex dress worn for her Heaven show
Julia Fox in Avellano’s bright red high-neck, floor length latex gown and matching latex coat at PFW’s MAC event
Noah Cyrus at two PFW events sporting Avellano fitted grey latex dress with matching coat, and blue high-neck, backless, floor-length gown
(Photo: Avellano. Model: @claude.emmanuelle)
(Photo: Avellano. Model: @calm.otter)
(Photo: Avellano. Model: @its_jaday2)
(Photo: Avellan. Model: Ushka)
(Photo: Avellano. Model: Munroe Bergdorf)
(Photo: Avellano. Model: @lise.sauve_)