Nina De Lianin of band In Strict Confidence describes their latest video, Mercy, as a “musicvideo/fashionfilm”, and it would be an injustice to those behind the video’s amazing wardrobe to be any less descriptive!
The costumes in this video are as much the showpiece as the actual music; and the fashion is as Alternative as it comes. The elaborate, often outlandish designs are provided by a number of avant-garde designers, as well as some recognised names in fetish-fashion, such as Marquis and Peter Domenie.
It’s Marquis which Nina herself is wearing; watch her strut through the old-fashioned rooms of this grand manor house while gleaming from head to toe in layers of transparent latex.
If Nina looks a complete natural in this get-up, it may be something to do with the fact she’s modelled for Marquis in the past. And indeed it’s harder to find a live performance of In Strict Confidence where she’s NOT wearing latex!
Nina performing with In Strict Confidence at the Blackfield Festival, 2013
For quite some time, the mere occurrence of a musician or celebrity wearing latex has ceased to be an unusual event in itself.
Time was, it took an artist with a certain reputation for eccentricity and non-conformity in order to push the envelope and wear these most eye-catching, and strange, outfits of rubber.
Partly due to their efforts, and partly due to the rise of latex couture, latex wear has spread from these fashion outliers to the mainstream core of pop culture, with presumably not much more ground – or taboos – to break. Even overt references to the fetish culture from which latex clothing sprang are now accepted as part of the normal iconography of the performer or fashionista; “Stars will be stars.”
However, all of the above assumes one crucial fact: we’re talking about women.
Michał Szpak performing at last month’s Top of the Top Festival in Sopot, Poland
Of course, men’s fashion does not have the same scope to be flamboyant or as out-there as women’s, and there is a whole host of reasons (that we won’t go into here) why this may be the case.
But even limiting the scope of our discussion to the famous, it still seems that few male performers are really taking advantage of their rock cred – their license to be larger than life – and breaking free of convention.
Not like we’ve seen in bygone generations, in any case.
Where are the New Romantics? The Punks? The Glam Rockers of today? We need new and exciting music, fashion and cultural movements to spur the kind of flamboyance and explosion of individuality and expression which marked those previous eras. And like female celebs have become trendsetters and brought latex fashion into the consciousness, perhaps we need genuine leaders, strong personalities, to show men also: There can be another way.
Szpak was a finalist on X Factor Poland, and later represented Poland in the Eurovision Song Contest, 2016
Michał Szpak may be too little known to be that influence. But hopefully he’s only a little ahead of his time. We salute Michał for putting some glam back into rock. Oh but this is no retro revival; latex is as bleeding edge as it gets.
I’m not entirely sure what I wanted to say with the post; but I guess it’s something like this: we’ve reached a stage where women’s latex fashion is in the mainstream consciousness almost daily; it would be nice not to have to wait years to witness another occurrence of men’s latex in the public eye.
Oh and the ‘L with a stroke’ letter is pronounced like the English ‘w’. Always been curious about that one!
Though circumstances may prevent us updating this site as much as we’d like, there is no shortage of latex news whether it be in the media, fashion shows, the art world or about designers and their creations. For the time being, the best way for us to unite these two conflicting truths may be to post topical “news digests”. As always, the music world alone has a lot to offer, so it’s time to get ourselves up to speed on what’s been happening over the last few months.
Nicki Minaj – Chun Li
For the single “Chun Li” Vex Clothing made several variants on the Street Fighter character’s traditional costume, for Nicki herself as well as her backing dancers. Although I do like the visual style of the official MV, its saturated darkness and neon means that it’s not the best way to get a look at the latex creations themselves. Step forward SNL, where Nicki performed live wearing no doubt the most singularly stunning rendition of the costume, in black and glittering gold.
In another unmissable live performance, Nicki wears a latex kimono and dress, once again flanked by backup dancers also in latex. Watch it here.
St Vincent on ‘Later… with Jools Holland’
St Vincent’s affection for latex has reached a crescendo with the release and promotion of her album Masseduction, wearing it for almost every major live TV performance (not to mention the music videos from the album). The most recent appearance, on last months ‘Later… with Jools Holland’, is our runaway favourite: from the classy cheongsam design and sexy skintight all-over fit, to the alluring deep green colour with an interesting bright orange accent.
Dana Dentata – TND
Music for strip clubs which is about empowering woman. This is what metalhead turned rapper Dana Dentata is shooting for. Frustrated by the negativity and even abuse of the male-dominated music industry, Dana took strength from the dancers at a particular gentlemen’s club, their confidence inspiring her to strike out on her own. And thus was born the ‘stripper jam’.
What better costume to represent not taking any more shit, especially from male chauvinists, than the Catwoman costume? This particular one is a rendition of the iconic suit worn by Michelle Pfeiffer, stitching and all.
Dana says: “It’s 2018. It’s the year of the pussy.” We’re not sure if the pun was intended.
Mnek – Colour ft. Hailee Steinfield
We love this layering of latex with sheer, lacey fabrics. Here Hailee is wearing a set of Vex lingerie in vivid red. On its own, that would be too simple, too racy, too skimpy, too blunt. Add a bit of tantalising coverage and contrasting textures – a bit of delicacy and softness – and it suddenly becomes so much more intriguing, while losing none of its sauciness ♥♥♥
Jax Jones, Mabel – Ring, Ring ft. Rich the Kid
Earlier in the year, Mabel McVey treated us to the most stunning of latex shots, quite rightly comparing her look to Jessica Rabbit: Instagram. That dress was by Atsuko Kudo, and Mabel returns to the designer for this video, this time in a silver skirt and pencil cup top.
Sabrina Carpenter – Almost Love
Sabrina wears the Dead Lotus Couture ‘NATALIE’ dress in this video, a design which combines lace with latex and is simultaneously cutesie and dangerous. In that sense, it reminds me of the Gothic Lolita style, and may be an inspired choice of outfit for this former Disney actress turned mature songwriter.
Villins – We Are the Night
Jesyka of New York duo Villins is rather partial to latex, often wearing it for shows as well as in their previous video ‘Your Fantasy’. This time it’s no less than a full catsuit for their new single We Are the Night. Unlike the Nicki Minaj ‘Chun Li’ MV, here the moody retro-future neon lighting can only amplify the gloss of so much latex in what is an intimately staged video.
Towards the end of 2017, Ukraine’s most famous singer, Tina Karol, appeared on various TV shows, in interviews, at events and performances wearing no less than six different latex outfits. It was as though Tina had gone on a shopping spree in Atsuko Kudo and couldn’t wait to show the world what she’d found. You can read our bumper post about Tina here.
Not even the great ambassadors for latex couture – the Lady Gaga’s, The Katy Perry’s, The Kardashian’s – not even they have worn so much latex in so short a time. After this all-out media assault in rubber you may think that Tina Karol would have hung up the latex for a while and given her skin some time to breathe.
Oh but you’d be wrong.
Latex passions die hard, and Tina was just getting warmed up.
From February through April, the Ukrainian version of The Voice aired its 8th series, on which Tina sat as one of the judges. Over these months, there were six studio recordings spanning fourteen episodes – and Tina wore a latex dress in every single one of them.
We had to check whether Atsuko Kudo were official sponsors of The Voice that year!
We tracked down episodes of The Voice and edited together the highlights of each episode, showing off the best of each of Tina’s dresses. Even the edited highlights clock in at 40 minutes – that’s a lot of latex!
Skip to the following times to see the different outfits: #2 8:03, #3 19:07, #4 26:54, #5 28:11, #6 33:24. Image credits: @goloskrainy_official and @tinakarol_fantina
Special note to 26:54, where not only does Tina perform in her latex but she is also surrounded by four dancers in black catsuits! That’s a lot of latex! – Have we said that already?
In her comeback single, Jess Glynne wears a casual two-piece latex outfit. The song’s logo – a Bird of Paradise flower – is emblazoned on the jacket, revealing this to be a custom design. The fabulous handiwork none other than Atsuko Kudo’s.
We see this style as a kind of encapsulation of everything that can bring latex out into the open; whether that be to a whole new audience – an audience that may be fashion conscious and fetish wary – or to existing latex lovers looking for opportunities to wear their favourite material outside of the clubs.
The outfit is bright and colourful. The baby blue is a gentle colour, innocent even, as opposed to more in-your-face and fetish associated black latex outfits.
The fit and style of the outfit is familiar and casual,the like of which we’d expect to see rendered in any other material – here it just happens to be rubber. The design, using contrasting side stripes and a prominent logo, also evokes the familiarity of branded sportswear.
Mixing and matching: Although this is a head to toe latex outfit, the look is broken up with an ordinary fabric crop top, front and centre. By wearing the jacket open and framing the crop top, it kind of moves the latex out more to the periphery, moderating the effect of a bold material choice.
This choice of outfit didn’t just come out of the blue, and in fact Jess Glynne is no stranger to latex. Back when she was making waves with her debut album in 2014-15 she wore latex on several occasions in different combinations.
Jess consistently mixes and matches colours, textures and materials to create sophisticated and fashionable latex looks. Even in the top picture, a head-to-toe skintight latex outfit moves towards fashion merely by the introduction of a pattern and light colours on top, to contrast the solid black leggings.
Later, she took the same leggings to once again create a gold top / black bottom look for a live performance, only this time the placement of latex was switched around:
With the release of “I’ll Be There”, Jess achieves ‘The Latex Quadruple’: our new tongue-in-cheek recognition for that special achievement of wearing latex in all domains of the public eye: music videos, live performances, photo shoots and red carpet events.
Congratulations Jess Glynne on this highly coveted and illustrious award! You are in exclusive company, and we hope you’ll continue bringing your sophisticated interpretations of latex fashion to the masses.
Ukraine has been an unexpected hot spot of latex fashion news in recent months, kicked off by Tina Karol wearing several latex outfits to at least five different events and TV appearances. Check our full post here.
Since then, Tina’s top rival for Ukraine’s annual ‘Most Beautiful Woman Award’, Olya Polyakova, has seemingly been inspired by her compatriot and fellow singer to also experiment with rubber wear in a number of high profile appearances.
In February, it was in attendance at the aforementioned award show by Viva! magazine, where Olya went on to take the crown:
It would be a great shame to waist such a dress on a mere red carpet photo opportunity, and so Olya took part in the comedy competition show League of Laughter wearing the same dress for the first episodes, broadcast in March.
That’s not all though: for the most recent episodes Olya played a main role in some of the sketches on stage, and that called for some latex outfits which were even more attention-grabbing: first, a unitard in shocking pink, and afterwards a racy policewoman costume! See all of Olya’s outfits in the video below:
There are parallels once again with Tina Karol, as Tina also played a role in the same series, which was also one of her first TV appearances in latex. We wonder if Olya will take her latex affair yet further. In the meantime, we haven’t heard the last of Tina Karol and latex. Expect another update to follow!
They say it’s easy to blend with the crowd But it’s hard just to be who you are If it’s harder to be who you are Then you know I’ll be miles from the crowd
In this new video for her single ‘Daydream’, Sarsha Simone wears not one but two latex bodysuits, proving the ongoing popularity of this versatile garment, often a favourite of musicians and their stylists.
The bodysuits are by Atelier Harlem, who provided the same design as seen in Kimbra’s video from last November, and here we’re treated to two new colours:
“Daydream is about having a dream and staying true to that vision despite the doubt that is coming at you from society. I want people to feel empowered to push through the BS when they hear this song.”
We are aware, especially after Kimbra’s video, of the careful thought that often goes into the art direction and costume design of music videos. Considering the great prominence of the latex outfits in this new video by Sarsha, we conjecture that the choice of latex was given more than a cursory thought.
It’s often the case that a music video is a visual summary or representation of the themes explored in the song and lyrics, with costuming being a major part of that visual language. In lieu of official commentary from Sarsha herself regarding the choice of outfits, we delved into some interviews as well as the song lyrics to see if any of the themes resonated. Sarsha, explaining the main concept behind her EP, titled ‘Bodhi’, says:
It’s about that time in your life when you start asking questions about where you are and what you want to do. Be it love, work, your own internal feelings about yourself and to be ok with what you find. “Bodhi” actually means to accept the true nature of things or to awaken.
It’s about self-expression, self-exploration… finding your feet within who you are, what you want to say, want you want to do. Being a dreamer, and feeling it… just letting be what is.
Latex is at once a feeling of nakedness and a kind of armour. It is nakedness not just in the purely physical sensation of a ‘second skin’, perfectly moulded to ones form, but also in the sense of putting oneself out there, laying oneself bare and announcing “This is me”. But far from a position of vulnerability, there is a strength in that because it’s here that one is totally at ease with themselves and the world they want to create for themselves.
Today we learned the unfortunate news that the MEAT brand is to cease trading. The announcement was originally made via the Instagram of one of the founders, Boadicea Claridge, though we first found out through an interview of Boadicea by Papermag.
Demi Rose wears MEAT latex in this shoot by Gavin Glave for Sixty6 Magazine
MEAT, as even the name suggests, were distinctive in the latex space. Easy to wear, loose cut, brighter colours, heavy use of patterns, and in-your-face slogans and branding; it all resulted in some contemporary, youthful and urban styles – which just so happened to made from rubber.
Brooke Candy, photography by Anthony Nguyen for Out Magazine
They had their celebrity fans, too, and when we posted about them it was often in relation to appearances and performances of Charli XCX. See our post about her latex looks here.
We also have MEAT to thank for inspiring our first music video review! The video was for the song One More by Elliphant and MØ. The combination of visual style, vocals and music, and how latex was worked seamlessly into the whole aesthetic, makes it still one of our favourite music videos featuring latex fashion.
It’s always a shame when any latex label closes doors, and especially one with such a unique identity. We appreciate MEAT’s willingness to explore latex fashions and to take the material in some bold new directions, infusing every design with personality. We wish designers Alis Pelleschi and Boadicea Claridge every success in their future projects!
Below you can watch Danielle Greco from the fashion platform VFILES. VFILES at one time carried MEAT latex in their online fashion store, and for this live broadcast Danielle wore one of their outfits. We’re sure it’s borderline cheating to take an ice bucket challenge wearing 100% waterproof clothing, but we’re not complaining!
Ricci Tauscher is a German blogger and model who combines travel vlogs with shiny and bold fashions, including latex. We previously made a post about her channel here, where we shared some of our favourite looks and enthused about her uplifting and inspiring approach to casual latex fashion in public.
Ricci’s latest daring venture is into the world of German Deep House music, releasing her first single and accompanying video called “KOMM WIR HALTEN HEUT‘ DIE WELT AN”. There is good continuity as the video combines two of Ricci’s main associations, it being a showcase of some major world cities as much as it is of latex.
And with that, we kick off 2018 for latex music videos in style. Take a look at our roundup of 2017 if you missed it.
We wish Ricci success with her project, and hope to see her show off that trademark latex joie de vivre on ever grander stages!
When we are researching articles we naturally find a lot of artists that we may not have discovered otherwise had it not been for their connection with latex clothing and fashion. This is not an indictment on those artists, merely a reflection of ourselves being out of touch with the modern popular music scene!
A lot of this music we could take or leave, and our interest in the artist extends only as far as our solemn duty to document latex developments in the mainstream.
However just occasionally, we’re introduced to an artist or song which excites us, inspires us, makes us feel good, and we can’t help listening on repeat and spreading the word to those in our circle. We thank latex for such discoveries!
And so it was late last year as we watched Rae Morris when performing her new single Do It for the BBC’s Live Lounge. Rae wears a red latex body which looks fabulous on her under the dim red lights of the close-up, intimate studio environment. Rae’s joy in the performance is as infectious as the song, her vocals sharp and distinct, and the melody and electronic production right up our street. We’re happy to say that with Rae we came for the latex, and stayed for the music.