This weekend marks the culmination of a very eventful week for London latex designer Atsuko Kudo.
On Saturday 19 comes the public opening of the iconic Victoria & Albert Museum’s exhibition Ballgowns — British Glamour Since 1950, which includes a latex gown by Atsuko among the many created by world-famous designers for royalty and the red carpet.
But before that, on Friday, Atsuko will be the subject of a live webcast by legendary fashion photographer Nick Knight's Showstudio, to coincide with the display of her Armour for Prostitutes piece in Showstudio’s acclaimed Selling Sex exhibition.
From 11am London time, Showstudio viewers will be able to watch Atsuko and her team providing a lesson in dressing for pleasure, slowly enveloping a nude model in layers of rubbery fabric live on camera, until she is completely dressed in a full Kudo outfit.
Lit and directed by Nick Knight himself, the video performance presents an “exciting but nerve-wracking opportunity that should be of interest to all lovers of latex, fetish and fashion” according to Kudo’s partner Simon Hoare.
The webcast is expected to last around four hours, and will subsequently be edited down to a compact version that will become part of Showstudio’s video archive.
With Saturday’s opening of the V&A’s Ballgowns exhibition — the first to be staged in the museum’s newly refurbished fashion galleries — visitors will be able to view the work of numerous UK-based designers over the past six decades.
With 60 ballgowns on display, Atsuko Kudo’s creation will be keeping company with work by Vivienne Westwood, John Galliano, Alexander McQueen, Gareth Pugh, Giles Deacon, Julien MacDonald, Matthew Williamson, Stella McCartney, Norman Hartnell, Erdem, Ossie Clark, Zandra Rhodes, Victor Stiebel, Jonathan Saunders and Catherine Walker.
The latex designer is understandably delighted to have her work chosen for such a prestigious mainstream exhibition. We’re told she feels it’s another illustration of the extent to which she is taking latex into areas of fashion and culture “unimaginable not too long ago”.
The museum’s card description of the AK gown perhaps best sums up how far things have come and also where Atsuko would still like to take her latex designs in the future.
The card reads: This gown’s designer is Tokyo-born, London-based Atsuko Kudo. She specialises in garments made from latex, a favoured material for fetish-wear.“Latex makes a woman look amazing!” says Kudo.
“Latex is very sensual and empowering to wear for fetish or fashion. It’s great that more people have started accepting latex as just another fabric. One day, I’d love to see the Queen wearing our latex — something smart and glamorous!”
The shots of model Georgia Frost wearing Atsuko’s 2011 creation, above, also show gowns from Worth (early 1950s) and Hardy Amies (1960s). The setting is the Norfolk House Music Room part of the museum, where the exhibition’s press launch took place.