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EVENTS|Reports|Xpo Barbican

BLUE VIEW: Rubber55’s Karen looks forward to her debut on the Xpo catwalk (photo: Tony Mitchell)

Strong fashion presence puts Xpo at the top for shopping

This year’s Rubber Ball weekend offered a plethora of pervy partying, but when it came to shopping, only one event really mattered. Our report begins with the two-day Barbican Xpo and Fetishistas’ fashion shows. More Xpo coverage and other events to come!

More than a dozen fetish fashion and accessory labels came together under the aegis of The Fetishistas’ Fashion At The Barbican shows on Friday and Saturday October 5 and 6. We were delighted that our shows were part of the Barbican Xpo, rated by most independent commentators as tops for shopping during Rubber Ball Weekend.

Around 50 models and a fine backstage crew assembled by show director Dangerous Dolly volunteered their time over the two day event to present three 45-minute catwalk shows to capacity audiences in the Xpo’s first-floor fashion performance space. Most of Friday’s models also gave press photographers a close-up preview of their show outfits at a special Xpo Photocall in the venue’s press room earlier on Friday afternoon.

The journalists and snappers from the fetish, alternative and mainstream fashion press who were assembled in the Last Stand Room seemed a bit shy when first confronted with the bevy of beauties clad in latex outfits by the likes of Rubber55 and Overt Clothing. But once one photographer broke the ice by getting some of the girls to pose, the others quickly followed suit and the initially hushed press room was quickly transformed into a hive of activity, with ’togs literally falling over each other to get the best close-ups of all the hot outfits.

All exhibitors had been invited by the Xpo organisers to bring their wares (or just themselves) to meet the press, and soon the models were joined by designers such as Slightly Scarlet’s Lulu O’Neil, and by other exhibitors including the guys behind the new men’s latex range D.Vote Clothing, which launched at the Xpo.

Credit goes to the very hardworking Li Bromfield of David Adams PR and DisorderMagazine.com for what was certainly the best organised and best attended press preview of any fetish event we’ve covered. Li was responsible for the consistently high quality of publicity on the Xpo’s own website and across a wide range of other media in the months prior to the show, and is continuing her good work in its aftermath.

‘By the time our MC appeared to announce the start of the first show, the audience space was packed to bursting point’

After our Friday models had finished posing for the press snappers, they made their way back upstairs for the first of our Fashion At The Barbican shows, scheduled for 6pm. The fashion space at the rear of the Barbican’s balcony floor had been organised around a stage and runway area with more than 100 seats plus standing space for the audience.

Behind the backdrop — which was draped in latex in The Fetishistas’ colours courtesy of Radical Rubber, the new UK sheet latex supplier set up by Libidex — Gothic Image had set up a full-on photo studio to produce professional quality images from the event.

By the time our MC Cate Fetishista appeared with Lycra-clad gimp in tow to announce the start of the first show, the audience space was packed to bursting point. Much to our delight, this pattern was repeated on Saturday, for both the 4pm and the 7pm shows.

We were, admittedly, apprehensive that the later show might not pull a capacity crowd, but in fact it turned out to have the highest attendance of all three shows. It seems that the good word had reached those who’d started their Saturday at Excel in East London, and there was a massive influx of new visitors to the Barbican Xpo in time for our final outing.

Predictably perhaps, latex dominated the shows, but the different design approaches of our participating latex labels ensured a distinctive character for each contribution. There was no mistaking Heather Meikle’s ’50s-influenced cocktail frocks and full-skirted rockabilly styles, Rubber55’s sportily coloured, heavily fetishistic hooded outfits, the tailored monochrome latex of Breathless, Ectomorph’s signature classic elegance, Libidex’s versatile clubby designs or the sheer animal crackers approach of Pretty Pervy.

Leather also made a respectable showing courtesy of The Ultimate Leather and corsetiers Lacing Lilith — the latter mixing fetish and conventional fabrics nicely accessorised by Slightly Scarlet — while Velda Lauder’s corsetted outfits contrasted Edwardian-inspired satin-and-lace luxury with figure-hugging faux-military uniform chic.

The influence of Punk, an early inspiration for the entire fetish fashion scene, could be seen in the contributions of Jed Phoenix with her kinky bondage twists on suit-fabric garments, and Engineers of Desire with their urban warrior garb fashioned from industrial rubber, leather and metal.

Each segment was introduced by Libby Rose’s two signboard-toting showgirls, who showed more than just the designers’ names each time they turned around in their bare-bottom outfits. It all really did go to prove just how much variety and imagination is possible within the broad concept of ‘fetish’.

‘We at The Fetishistas owe our gratitude to the many people who gave us their time to make the shows a success’

Needless to say, we at The Fetishistas owe our gratitude to the many people who gave us their time and skills to make the shows such a success. That includes the designers who put clothes into the shows (often making them specially for us), the models who gave up hours of shopping time to wait in line for their time on the catwalk, the hair and make-up people who worked phenomenally hard on both days to give every show a totally professional look, and the production staff who ensured that everything ran smoothly.

Last but not least, we’re indebted to show director Dangerous Dolly, without whose untiring commitment and professionalism none of it would have happened.

Below are the show credits, starting with Friday. The designer running order was the same on both days, but some of our models changed for the Saturday shows. Any additional Saturday credits will be added when we add Saturday’s show pictures.

Every effort has been made to get all this information right, but errors do sometimes creep into long lists of names, so if you were a participant and find yourself either wrongly credited or not credited at all, just send the correct details to tony@thefetsihistas.com and it will be fixed!


Designer: Heather Meikle
Models — Fri:
Little Miss Dragon, Suzie Wong, Veronika Valentine
Models — Sat: Little Miss Dragon, Suzie Wong, Naomi Sareth

BREATHLESS Designer: Dolenta Debarna
Models — Fri:
ShadowJen, Amber West
Models — Sat: ShadowJen, Enola Gay

Andy & Karen
Models — Fri:
Karen Bruce, Raven, Lydia Morgan
Models — Sat: Karen Bruce, Raven, Jenny Divine

Victoria Wilder
Models — Fri: Oliver, Katja, Dancing Eshu
Models — Sat: Oliver, Katja

Cas Carpenter
Models — Fri + Sat: Alex B, Emma J, Nico, Sammpa

Simon Rose
Models — Fri: Roswell Ivory, Saffron, Mya, Chrys Columbine, Malificent Martini
Models — Sat: Roswell Ivory, Little Miss Dragon, Sayako, Miss Harriet

Jed Phoenix
Models — Fri: Boykitten, Andrew Milne, Leo Hedman
Models — Sat: Boykitten, Andrew Milne, Nicole Isted

Krystina Kitsis
Models — Fri: Keisha Rio, Maya Sinstress
Models — Sat: Keisha Rio, Barn, Estrella Oscura

Paul Miller
Lulu O’Neil
Models — Fri: Dangerous Dolly, Mademoiselle Katarina, Annalise
Models — Sat: Dangerous Dolly, Mademoiselle Katarina, Scarlett

Velda Lauder
Models — Fri: Bex, Sharonina
Models — Sat: Bex, Harlot Rouge, Mam’zelle Maz

PRETTY PERVY Designer: Robert Miller
Models — Fri: Dante Posh, Lenore, Michelle
Models — Sat: Dante Posh, Clay, Hilary, Veronika Valentine

Libby Rose
Models — Fri + Sat: Dulce, Tifa

Show director/manager:
Dangerous Dolly
Stage manager: Alex B
Assistant manager + stage dresser: Sayako
Wardrobe mistress: Lady Lucie
Assistant stage manager: Nico
Make-up and hair: Stephanie Shobiye (MUA Friday), Francesca Petrangeli (MUA + hair Friday), Sammm Agnew (airbrush MUA Friday + Saturday), Ania Gastol (MUA Saturday), Scarlett (MUA + hair Saturday)
MC: Cate Fetishista with her Lycra gimps Steve + Mortice
Stage dressing: Radical Rubber
Studio photography: Gothic Image
Studio assistant and set dresser: ShadowJen
Music operation: John Faill
Sound system: Audio Energy
Show producer: Tony Mitchell

Graphics: Jan FetishClubPix
Poster model: Mosh
Poster photography: Vance/PhetishFotos
Stand manager + set dresser: Boris Cooke
Stand assistant: Veronica

Friday, 19 October 2007


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