Kimbra - Top of the World latex

Kimbra – Top of the World

 

Kimbra’s ‘Top of the World’ is that desired combo: a great song paired with a visually impressive and artistic video which makes use of latex. Adding a little context makes the whole experience all the more perfect, especially when this Behind The Scenes video makes it obvious how much thought was put into the choice of costume for each segment of the video. In Kimbra’s words:

One of the more exciting processes of making a video, for me at least, is conceptualising the fashion and the growth of outfits […] I like when the clothes seem an expressive part of giving the audience a way into the lyric further.

It’s telling that latex enters in the final third where Kimbra acts her most emboldened – feeling “like a god” – while social conditioning and limiting beliefs come crashing down around her. How good that must have felt. Take it from Kimbra herself:

Smashing shit up in latex = my favorite part of the new music video.

 
It’s an oft-held view that besides its visual allure latex offers a sensation which makes the wearer feel super-powered. Often born of this feeling is a desire and need to transgress social constructions and conventions through self-actualisation. I can think of no better choice of costume for the climactic act of a song entitled ‘Top of the World’.

Bella Hadid wears Lace Latex Dress from Atsuko Kudo

On Wednesday, Bella Hadid attended the Victoria’s Secret Angels Viewing Party 2017 in New York wearing this Lady P Long Evening Dress by Atsuko Kudo.

 

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Bella Hadid has worn Atsuko Kudo before, that time a plain black Paris Cup Pencil Dress. Both are stunning in their own right, but the fine lacework of this pearl sheen red dress pushes it into the upmost tier of luxury of what is already an upscale boutique latex brand.

Atsuko Kudo considers the lace effect latex as seen here to be one of her signature innovations, and we think it makes the nature and origin of the material slightly more subtle – an extra step in the direction towards couture and away from fetish. This applies to non-black and patterned latex in general, but the design here is particularly delicate and classy.

We wonder why patterned latex has not made more inroads into showbiz fashion, being aware of only one previous occasion when it was worn: by Kelly Brook back in 2009.

 

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With the positive reception for Bella and her gorgeous and elegant dress on Wednesday, who knows, she may just spark an interest in a different sort of latex.

 

 

libidex latex raincoat by flaunt

Q&A with Simon Rose from Libidex

Libidex is one of the biggest UK latex clothing companies, certainly offering the largest range of women’s and men’s clothing I’ve seen, all designed from the company’s own latex sheeting brand: Radical Rubber. With control over the sheet manufacturing process, Libidex are able to price their garments competitively while retaining quality of design. They market to all audiences of latex wear, with entire collections based around either fetish or latex fashion themes; just this summer they launched a new Men’s Fashion Range, and this sits right alongside their ‘Hard & Heavy’ BDSM based collection: a clear message as to the spectrum of latex clothing on offer, and Libidex’s readiness to cater for all.

Simon Rose of Libidex agreed to take part in a Q&A with blogger Kyle Selina of the Dark Shiny Fashion Alternatives Blog, and a recurring theme was this relationship of fetish and fashion, not only from the perspective of Libidex itself but also in the context of wider developments and trends in latex clothing and how it relates to fashion and pop culture.

 

Can you provide a short bio of your background in fashion?

I am Simon Rose, Libidex owner and creative director and co-founder. I have a Psychology degree from Lancaster University. I am an avid reader, world traveler and latex fashion trendsetter.

How did you discover latex as a material to use in fashion?  Did you have a personal interest in wearing latex or was it just a material that you found interesting?

I grew up in a military family and from birth I was surrounded by uniforms, rubberized chemical warfare suits and gas masks (one of my favorite toys).  From there I discovered Atomage and early Skin Two magazine and everything fell into place.

At what point did you decide to take your personal interest in latex and transition it to a vocation?

In 1994 I was working with English latex designer pioneer Helen Saffery at Libidex in London. The label was still in its infancy and earlier on I spotted a huge opportunity to take Libidex to the next level making it the fetish powerhouse that it is today.

My inspiration came from the idea of offering customers both fetish and fashion latex clothes in one place.

A business has a number of things that one must deal with that sometimes dim one’s passion. You have rent, insurance, utilities, materials, employee salaries etc.  Is the market for latex adequate to balance the pressures of business?  What end of the market absorbs more time – the celebrity couture or the consumer market? How do you balance your passion for creativity with the need to be profitable?

Most certainly the consumer market. Celebrity endorsement doesn’t pay our bills in fact we turn away quite a few celebrity requests, from stylists, photographers etc. We just make sure we design popular items that are also creative, fresh and new.

 

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‘Liberation’ is the name of Libidex’s brick-and-mortar shop, located in Covent Garden, London

 

Latex can be described as a “fetish”, a “kink”, “Alternative Fashion” or simply “fashion”. Do you prefer one description over another?

Whatever name people are comfortable with. I like Fetish better. Because that is what it is after all.

It seems many latex outfits are designed to be body hugging. I’ve heard latex referred to as a “Second Skin”. Do you agree that latex should be used for tight outfits or does it lend itself to “loose” outfits? If it’s a “second skin” does it mean it needs to be worn without undergarments?  Does that intimidate people from wearing it?

Not necessarily as many designs in our range are loose fitting. For example, our Swing Circle Skirt or Rebelle Dress as well as our Pyjamas to name but a few. Not everyone likes to be squeezed in on tight latex. There are no rules and if there are, I live by the motto the rules are only there to be broken. If you feel freer wearing your latex with nothing underneath that is your own personal choice. The Scottish have done that for centuries. But if you prefer to have pants and bras under your latex garment and that makes you feel good, go for it!

In your experience, how concerned are people about body image when considering fashion choices? Does latex, as a material, help or hinder these decisions?

Do you feel latex tends to express one’s body with honesty as if is was no different than a “second skin” or is it more of a fashionable type of shapewear that fixes a person’s perceived “flaws”?

We have customers of all sizes and we cater for them offering a size range that goes from XXS to 6XL so you will always find something that will suit you. Everyone is different and some people prefer tight fitting catsuits and corsets and others want to be able to breathe and be comfortable while wearing latex, so they should do whatever they feel the most comfortable with. Some people wear it for fetish and some for fashion.

 

libidex latex jogging by flaunt
Tight, figure-hugging dresses may get all the column inches, but latex clothing also comes in looser, relaxed garments, combining comfort with the sensual feel and glossy appearance

 

How do you find the market for latex wear distributed between men, women, cross-dressers (men or women), and celebrity couture?

We probably sell a bit more for our male customers, but women buy a lot from us too as do the transgender community. We cater for everyone.

What is your favorite piece of latex that you’ve created in your career for a man and for a woman?

Ummm that’s a hard one but one of my most fun was my Black Betty catsuit which is for all sexes and trans.

People can state that they don’t like latex because of the smell, or because the material doesn’t breathe and they sweat too much, or because it’s too tight or it makes them look like they’re selling sex. How do you address those concerns?

Latex is like marmite you either love or hate it. You can be converted into it by a loved one or a friend but mostly it like a fire that burns you up inside, an uncontrollable desire to dress head to toe in shiny latex.

What is your design philosophy?  What drives your creativity?

I have many different sources of inspiration, from classic literature, to films, music, art, period costumes, contemporary fashion. The fetish scene in Europe and its many clubs and events is an endless font of inspiration. Seeing what people are wearing is a fun and fabulous way to come up with new designs and ideas.

Less or More? Do you prefer designing a latex outfit which is more on the revealing side or leaning towards full coverage?

It depends of the occasion, what collection I am working on. More is definitely more.

 

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You say ‘non-breathable’, we say ‘100% guaranteed rain-proof’. Tomayto, tomahto!

 

How do you feel is the best way to integrate latex into an everyday “public” outfit. How would you mix it with other materials?

Latex leggings can be beautifully paired with jackets, or a latex skirt with fabric blouse. Guys can have classic latex jeans in some funky colour with a cotton T-shirt.

What are your goals for your future in latex design?

To keep bringing affordable, exciting and innovative collections to our customers.

What is your favorite part of being a latex fashion designer?

Designing new collections. The research process is very exciting.

What is your “Blue Sky” accomplishment to achieve in the world of latex clothing or fashion in general?

From gluing my first suspender belt in 1990 to the present day, Libidex has had to overcome a huge number of challenges and obstacles. Every collection photographed and each of our fashion shows are always memorable moments. The fact that we are still here, bigger and better and appreciated by rubberists the world over, over 25 years later is what gets me out of bed with a smile on my face.

 

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Libidex are popular for their catsuits, commissioned here for Girls Aloud’s ‘Sexy! No No No’ video. Libidex also provided a transparent catsuit for the cyborg in the film ‘Machine’ (2014)

 

President Franklin D. Roosevelt stated that “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.” People tend to be fearful of things that are different. They express that fear through aggressive or demeaning behavior towards others to express that their position is superior. Even without external pressure, a person can be fearful due to internal thoughts over how people will react.

This brings us to fashion. You can say the more different something is from the norm, the more people will react negatively. Do you agree with this? Is latex “too different” from what is accepted fashion to be common place? How much more extreme is it than wearing leather? Women often wear leather to corporate jobs. Is latex that much more extreme? Is men’s latex wear more “extreme” than women’s wear?

What do you say to someone who deep down would want to wear latex in public settings?

This is 2017 and latex fashion is everywhere. Pop videos, TV, commercials, youtube, Instagram, and social media have done wonders to remove the stigma associated to latex. And it all depends how you present it. Of course if you turn up in full Dominatrix gear you will raise the wrong kind of attention but if you wear something more fashion orientated, you could be fine even at your work place. Society is changing and so is people’s perception of latex wear.

No I don’t think men’s wear is more extreme than women’s at all.

Go for it, start with something bright and colourful, mix it up with something quirky and you will be fine.

Women’s clothing seems to have such variety. Can men’s latex be as interesting? What are your thoughts on men’s latex fashion?

Yes 100% men’s clothes can be exciting, varied and colourful. The new Male Fashion Collection we are working on at the moment is a testament of that.

You have expanded your line greatly. What drives the expansion?

Demand, our customers always want new styles and designs and as long as there is interest from them we will be more than willing to oblige.

 

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Certain items offer a casual, everyday sort of clothing – but in latex

 

Thank you to Kyle Selina of the Dark Shiny Fashion Alternatives blog for holding the Q&A, and to Simon Rose for his participation.

Links:

Irina Rimes at the Media Music Awards 2017

Irina Rimes is a Moldovan performer based in Romania, and on Tuesday she attended the Media Music Awards 2017, winning the Best New Artist award.

There was no such Best Costume award, but if there had been then she would have had that in the bag too.

 

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Prior to the event, Irina was interviewed on the ‘Green Carpet’ and asked about her costume. We don’t have a word for word translation, but we understand Irina had a desire to dress in a quirky maid outfit for sometime, before the award ceremony finally granted her the opportunity with its “Cool Vibe” themed dress code.

 

 

Okay, latex looks cool, but how do you stay cool wearing it in the warm Romanian climate? Apparently not a problem for Irina: she didn’t find perspiration an issue, instead noting the unique sensory qualities of latex and its ability to heighten sensations of warm and cool at turns.

At least, that was what she said BEFORE her stage performance!

 

 

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This Virginie Maid Outfit was designed by Libidex, originally commissioned for a promo for Henry Cotton’s Fall Winter 2013/14 catalog. The promo itself is a sight to behold, taking the signature Henry Cotton blend of authentic British style and timeless Italian elegance and combining it with… latex-clad robot house servants. As you do.

Take a look:

 

 

Here is further information from Libidex about the original commission.

 

cocosori kickstarter

CoCoSoRi’s Crowdfunded Comeback

CocoSori are a Korean pop duo who first came to our attention in 2016 with the release of their first single Dark Circle. The video featured the duo wearing Atsuko Kudo maids’ uniforms in pink and turquoise:

 

 

CoCoSoRi would go on to perform live numerous times in the same costumes, sometimes in red or black variants:

 

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For some months all was quiet on their channel, until last week when they announced they had taken to Kickstarter in an effort to fund a new music video. At the time of writing, they have already exceeded their ¥2,000,000 ($17,388) goal with 12 days to go. The Kickstarter page itself is in Japanese, but check out the pitch below also in English:

 

 

We congratulate the girls on their successful campaign, though with a slight pang of loss we note that as part of their funding drive the group offered up their latex outfits as rewards for the higher brackets, and these have all been snapped up. And with that, it looks like this is the last we’ll see of the iconic dresses. But who knows, with 12 days to go if the campaign meets some stretch goals maybe there’ll be enough extra cash to fund another trip to London and another Atsuko Kudo shopping spree?!

Watch below to see CoCoSoRi’s original visit to AK for fittings for the famous maid uniforms:

 

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The Adorned: Nange Magro on CNN

As CNN describes it, The Adorned is a series of short films which “explores the psychology behind extraordinary style”. In these videos, you can find eccentric characters wearing even more eccentric clothing. Elaborate, individual, and eye-catching, the people in these videos often find clothing and dressing up as self-expression and an art form itself, painting life in big, colourful letters. For some, it’s a way of finding inner strength and affirming who they are.

Does any of that sound familiar, latex lovers?

Nange Magro, the designer of Dead Lotus Couture is one of the subjects, and she talks about her background and the influences which led to her creating her unique latex creations, which combine elegance with the theatrical. She also describes the sense of belonging which she feels in being part of the alternative & fetish communities, finding them a welcoming and accepting environment for self-expression to flourish in all its forms.

The video naturally shows her wearing her designs, and also captures well the material’s qualities, such as its unique sound, and with multiple close ups of its high-gloss surface. There is also a ‘transforming’ dress, which is a sight to behold in itself:

http://edition.cnn.com/style/article/the-adorned-nange-magro/index.html

I recommend watching the whole series of films, because they are full of positive and inspiring view points, and they expound the philosophy of finding the theatre in life, and playing exactly the role we feel we were born to play, whatever it might be.

 

Every time I wear an outfit that I made and that is in latex I feel much more myself…you feel more powerful, like you affirm who you are.

Nange Magro

There’s a fear of being different, but we are all different inside in one way or the other, so what’s wrong with expressing that difference in the way you present yourself to the world?

Artist Sue Kreitzman, who is battling the beige and the bland by going out in wearable works of art

It is giving full reign to enjoy the opulence of the mind and thinking; That is expressed through the way I dress.

Tyne O’Connell

I see my outfits a lot of the time as kind of armour…I don’t think there’s any point in blending in.

Daniel Lismore

 

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St Vincent Annie Clark Latex

St. Vincent and Latex

St. Vincent is musician Annie Clark and she’s recently released several short clips which appear to be a satire of the interview circuit. Not being aware of her output, I don’t know whether to take them as promotions in themselves, a purely creative endeavour, just a way of having a laugh, or all of the above. But the point is there is latex!

While answering parody questions, St. Vincent is sat wearing a latex skirt and the lovely Syren Garbo blouse, which is so deservedly popular that we wrote an entire article just on this one garment.

There are 13 clips in total, each no more than 30 seconds long which you can see on her instagram. I’m posting just one here, but it’s the one which I think shows off the most of her outfit:

 

 

Now, the videos are so tongue-in-cheek you might be forgiven for thinking St. Vincent picked her clothes purely to poke fun at prevailing pop fashion trends. But in fact she has worn latex in the past in different contexts, and it’s totally her style. She’s one of us!

 

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Here St. Vincent is performing at the Singapore Laneway Festival, 2015

 

My favourite, though, is a different black rubber dress, one which she wears in this video to present a guitar of her own design:

 

 

I’m enamoured with this look. Different from the high-gloss, reflective latex we usually know and love to see, this dress has a fine powdery finish. Anyone who has ordered latex clothing by post will be reminded of the light, even application of talc covering their new garments, inside and out, in order to prevent the latex from sticking to itself during shipping. The talc makes the rubber silky smooth and easy to get into, which is much appreciated when opening a new purchase, since you want to almost jump into the clothes out of excitement. And if the clothes are designed to be loose, then the material just brushes lightly on the skin as it drapes and hangs, cool to the touch when it comes into contact.

It’s this kind of unpretentious, raw & unpolished, silky new finish which I’m reminded of by this dress. It’s a rubber dress, but it’s carefree, casual and relaxed. That exciting immediacy of just jumping into some soft, loose latex without planning nor preparation. Impulsive. Latex for lounging on a (sensuous) Sunday?

The look is edgy, the feeling soft & delicate, and I’m 100% absolutely certain Annie was very, very comfortable wearing it.

 

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They always come back for more

I’m going to posit that there exists a law of nature when it comes to latex and pop stars: there are those who haven’t tried latex, and there are those who just can’t stay away from it. No middle ground. Nuh-uh.

Of course, I may be over-generalising a little, but it really seems to be getting harder to find incidents of performers wearing latex just once and deciding it’s not for them. Rather, they come back for more. We at WearLatex find this perfectly understandable and expected behaviour!

Now of course you could draw up a long list of artists to have appeared in latex on more than one occasion, but here we’re going to round up some of the examples presented in just the last couple of weeks.

Taylor Swift first appeared in latex (along with a raft of co-stars likewise wearing latex) in her music video Bad Blood. Latex was provided by the likes of Syren and Atsuko Kudo. Well, Taylor has returned to AK for her latest high budget video, Look What You Made Me Do. She wears this orange Miss T Bra in an early scene, though it’s a mere tantalising hint of latex before appearing in full dominatrix-queen regalia around the 1 minute 50 mark. Granted, the screen time is all too short, but nobody can deny she looks devastating.

 

 

Nicki Minaj has been on a veritable latex binge for the whole of 2017. I first became aware of it with the video for Jason Derulo’s Swaller, and since that time she has been rather active in sharing her latex addiction on instagram. It kind of came full circle late August, wearing a few latex outfits (together with Blac Chyna) for yet another MV: Rake it Up by Yo Gotti. However, the real chatter came soon afterwards, with her appearance at the MTV Video Music Awards. She arrived in this eye-wateringly tight pink outfit by Vex Clothing; a look befitting of her ‘Barbie’ moniker. Later on the same evening, she swapped the pink for black and white latex in order to perform.

 

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Charli XCX performed at G-A-Y London on August 26th and was wearing her favourite latex label, Meat Clothing. We’ve previously written about Charli and her love of the brand here. Suffice to say, Meat are unconventional in the latex fashion space, and that suits Charli XCX fine.

 

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It’s fantastic that latex is available in such a diversity of looks, and this variety will only widen as more and more designers enter the field. Wearing latex doesn’t have to be a style in itself, but merely an additional medium in which a plethora of existing styles can be rendered in a highly interesting, sexy, sensual way. No matter the genre, the musician, or the persona, there should be latex available to suit (or indeed transform) anybody.

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The latest House of CB latex appearances

When it comes to bringing latex fashion to the mainstream, House of CB’s contribution just can’t be overstated. It’s a killer combination:

  1. Chic fashion label
  2. The familiar environment of the high-street clothing shop
  3. Off-the-peg latex to be tried for a lower price than the made-to-measure couture latex specialists.

The result is we’re seeing House of CB latex crop up everywhere:

 

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Vanessa Hudgens wearing the ‘Lexii’ dress at the Mayweather v McGregor pre-fight party

 

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Jess Shears at the TV Choice Awards wearing the ‘Alcina’ dress

 

And in the video below you can see Maja Šuput performing live on Croatian TV:

This ‘Livana’ dress is running away with it in the popularity stakes. Read a full post about all of the sightings here.

 

As we can see, House of CB are always increasing their latex range, the latest tally at THIRTEEN outfits! (Number of outfits may differ depending on your location).

I remember back when I wrote about House of CB’s first forays into latex I expressed the hope they would expand into more designs and colours, and they have certainly delivered. It looks to be paying off for them.

The crucial point worth making is that it’s not just the celebs buying into this. Plug #houseofcb into instagram and you don’t have to scroll far to see ordinary people wearing their latex, feeling and looking on top of the world. Latex is breaking through. First it was for the fetish shops. Then it was for the celebrities. Now it’s for everyone.

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Damcho Dyson on morning TV

Damcho Dyson is a former Buddhist nun who, after 10 years wearing the robes, left her life as a nun behind and went on to discover latex. She soon noted the parallels and contrasts between wearing robes and donning latex, both of them rituals in their own way. Indeed, she is even exploring these issues more deeply for a PhD which she is hoping to crowdfund.

I’ve written about Damcho previously here. Since that time, her campaign has picked up pace and she is attracting attention from some big mainstream news sources (The Daily Mirror and Daily Mail, to name two UK based news outlets).

My favourite, though, is this interview from Austrailia’s ‘The Morning Show’, in which Damcho actually shows up for the interview wearing a latex catsuit, giving the presenters a nice surprise:

https://au.tv.yahoo.com/the-morning-show/video/watch/35730602/the-buddhist-nun-turned-fetish-fanatic/#page1

Good luck to Damcho in her funding, and for continuing to spread the word on the empowering, transformative sensation of wearing latex.