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TALENT|All Talent|Luxury Latex

NEW LUX l-r: Kim West Peter Pan dress; Joy Williams embossed jacket; LLXX Christmas camisole, stockings; Sashalouise net body (Photos: Nils Bratby. Models: Ruby True, Dolly Diamond. H+MU: Ciona Johnson-King)

Luxury Latex: the new shop window for young designers

Designer Kim West has launched a new online retail store selling not just Kim West latex, but also affordable styles from new in-house label LLXX, and selected capsule collections from recent design graduates working at the cutting edge of fetish fashion

Luxury Latex — the brainchild of British latex pioneer Kim West and her partner Adam — is a brand new online store selling cutting edge latex fashion and fetish clothing.

A key part of the concept is to provide a shop window for new young designers, who are typically fashion graduates and sometimes need help to get noticed among the many established UK labels, however good their work is.

To begin with, Kim tells us, Luxury Latex will stock garments from five designers, with more to be added in the coming months. The store also has its own in-house label, LLXX, with prices and styles promised to suit every purse.

“It's a very exciting time for latex right now,” says Kim. “We are seeing designers doing amazing, interesting things with it and really pushing the boundaries more than ever before.

“We wanted to give a platform to new designers. Some of them have used latex in their degree shows but don't necessarily want to be labelled as being a ‘latex designer’.

“They are also working with other fabrics and see latex as another medium because of its exciting challenges and unique qualities.

“At LL we can give our customers a chance to buy these small capsule collections. Hopefully our designers will be inspired to work with more latex in the future but if not, then these small collections will be available long after the designer has moved on to new fabric collections.”

Alongside Kim, who has more than 25 years experience in latex fashion, the first young designers on the LL books are Sashalouise, Kit Neale, Joy Williams and Brett Mettler.

To kick off proceedings, LL has created a sexy and stylish Christmas lingerie set for the LLXX range.

The black faux-fur-trimmed purple latex camisole — with matching purple thong, stockings and suspended belt with black latex trim — subvert classic Christmas styling sufficiently to be a winner all year round, we think!

Kim also adds that Luxury Latex will soon be adding three menswear collections to the store.

Coming in a few weeks will be the LLXX range of wearable, fashionable designs, and there will also be designer menswear collections from Kit Neale, and from Sashalouise (whose women’s styles are already on the site).

Photography for the Luxury Latex site is once again by Nils Bratby, whose previous shoot for Kim gave us our October cover image and a gallery in the accompanying article.

Nils has shot the garments for Luxury Latex in a way that gives the whole site a cool, elegant and easily recognisable style, informed by an understanding of the clothes’ likely appeal to a wider audience than just latex enthusiasts.

Regular Kim West model Dolly Diamond (our October cover star) is joined this time by fetish fashion stalwart Ruby True. Although on the Luxury Latex site itself, the uniformly headless framing of poses on the product pages allows the viewer to believe there could have been many more models (or perhaps only one) involved.

Asked about the concept behind the photography, Kim explains: “We took a mannequin-style shot of every outfit with a head, but went for a lookbook style for the product pages. This also has the plus point that we don't dictate a certain style onto the viewer.

“We use ‘lifestyle’ shots with heads on the designer pages. We moved away from stylised photos because while that is nice for people looking for images of gorgeous girls in rubber, it’s crap for people who are actually buying the clothes and like to see all the details.

“Our product pages show good, clear images of each garment so you can see they aren't Photoshopped to within an inch of their life. We are very proud of our quality of workmanship and we think the photos reflect that.”

Take a look at the site yourself, and we think you’ll find it hard to disagree.

‘We wanted to give a platform to new designers. Some have used latex in their degree shows but don't want to be labelled as a latex designer’

Thursday, 1 December 2011


Luxury Latex online store
Designers + links

Kim West is one of the original latex pioneers. Kim West Clothing began in 1984, and her designs brought latex into the mainstream press for the first time from Vogue to the Sunday Telegraph, causing plenty of controversy. They have been worn by icons such as Madonna, Kylie and Helena Bonham-Carter.

Sashalouise graduated from London College of Fashion in 2011. Her love for the style of former Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash inspired her collection of sexy oversized net t-shirts and skintight bum-hugging pants.

Brett Mettler graduated from Central St Martins in 2011. Her exclusive Shoreditch Vibe collection for LL in monochrone latex has cutaway panels and unusual seam lines.

Joy Williams is a graduate from Cambridge who now lives in Brighton. Her clever designs using appliqué, laser-cutting and panelling are getting lots of attention, and her collection for LL has a gorgeous embossed quilted detail.

KIT NEALE (coming soon)
Kit’s menswear is a breath of fresh air in the world of men’s latex fashion. Styles like his neon printed floral designs on matte latex may well mark the first time men’s latex can be described as fashion and not fetish. Kit is a Ravensbourne graduate.

Luxury Latex
Nils Bratby
Dolly Diamond
Ruby True
Ciona Johnson-King
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