With the release of Katy Perry’s video for new single Chained to the Rhythm, Katy proved she was just as reliable as ever for providing some latex sightings from pop culture. I personally like it when the latex outfits in music videos are congruous with the art direction as a whole, as opposed to pure titillation, and that’s very much what we’ve got here.
The video presents a Brave New World style dystopia, and readily apparent is the sheer amount shiny, reflective clothing prevalent, not all of it latex. For her part, Katy is wearing white capri leggings by Vex Clothing in the first segment of the video. They are barely seen under her dress, but I guess being such a latex fanatic that didn’t matter to Katy and she wanted them to be latex anyway. The white body she wears in the same section may or may not be latex, but the black body in the latter half of the video definitely is, made by Kim West.
One of the persistent conceptions of latex clothing is that it’s in some sense futuristic, perhaps due to its otherworldliness. You can see that it’s obviously clothing, but not at all like the clothing we’re used to in our day to day lives. And I suppose that’s what sci-fi does: to take what we know and recognise and twist it slightly so it has the feeling of belonging to another time and place. Latex also fits into that vague notion of the ‘chrome’ future: a world shiny, reflective and metallic. Perhaps a bit cold, a bit distant, but sleek, streamlined, extremely cool, extremely stylish and in some sense an evolution. Advanced clothing for an advanced generation.
Monica Belucci and Carrie-Anne Moss from the Matrix film trilogy. Much more latex was featured in the films, such is in the Club Hel scene from Matrix Revolutions.
More recently, Westworld featured these latex lab coats. Read more about them here.
Above: cosplayer Omi-K-Gibson wearing Andromeda Latex. Left to right: cosplayers Maria Khanna, Stella Chuus and Jessienoochies. Video game and anime characters inspire plenty of sci-fi themed latex cosplayers. See more in our cosplay posts here and here.
Jupiter Ascending featured costumes by House of Harlot. Latex is often chosen for cybernetic characters, being able to convey a kind of flawless sheen which is at the same time quite human and organic.
Another latex cyborg, from the 2013 film The Machine. Catsuit by Libidex.
Westworld was not the first to do latex lab coats. Terry Gilliam is known for his imaginative and well-realised dystopias, and 2013’s The Zero Theorem featured lots of latex, also by House of Harlot.
And finally, future-inspired fashion, in perhaps last year’s most high-profile latex outing. The theme for Met Gala 2016 was “Manus X Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology” which inspired Beyonce and her sister Solange to wear latex. More pictures of Beyonce’s gown here.