Think of latex and you probably think of all kinds of kinkiness; clothing that is reserved for BDSM or fetish clubs. It's no wonder that this tight, figure-hugging rubber has become such an icon of the fetish world - it is known to feel like a second skin. But as fashion develops and searches for new ways of pushing boundaries, so has it taken on latex as a couture statement.
Thanks to the internet allowing access to international suppliers, the latex industry has grown dramatically since 2000. Although there are hundreds of designers currently working with the material, it is not possible to manufacture latex clothing on a grand scale. Creating the items is a skilled art, which allows made-to-measure custom designs for a one-of-a-kind look.
Much like textile clothing, the basic foundation of latex design is the pattern. This is created and adjusted using the specific measurements supplied by the customer. The difference now is the joining of the seams; it is not possible to sew latex together, as you would fabric, so it must be joined using specific latex glue. This labour-intensive method takes time and a lot of skill, which explains why latex clothing is generally more expensive than off-the-shelf high street items!
Although translucent in colour, latex can be dyed, and the current available colours range from metallic purple to orange, white, blue and more.
Despite being such a flexible and creative material, the latex world had previously been dominated (see what I did there!) by basic designs, relying purely on the seduction of the second skin and the eye-catching shine. It was time for a change, and that's exactly why Kaori Matsubara decided to create her own pieces of sophisticated latex to flatter any woman.
In recent years stylists and celebrities have become familiar with latex, with everyone from Lady Gaga, to Madonna to Cheryl Cole donning delicious rubber. It has been recognised for it's artistic beauty too, with couture latex brand Atsuko Kudo being featured in a V&A exhibition and a ShowStudio video.
Latex has become a fashion statement; we love seeing it being worn with everyday textile clothing for an added texture. Brands such as Kaori's Latex Dreams create couture designs, without the hefty catwalk price-tag. These sophisticated designs prove that you don't need to squeeze yourself into a catsuit to rock the trend, nor must latex be hidden away!
If you aren't already a latex fan, or you just aren't sure where to start, we have just the thing for you. We teamed up with Kaori's Latex Dreams to create an exclusive limited edition line of latex accessories to match your Playful Promises lingerie!
Available only at Playful Promises, the first mini-collection includes a hair fascinator (£45), fingerless gloves (£22) and matching nipple pasties (£18). Each piece of this classic range has been handmade in the UK using electric rose and black latex of high quality, and there are more designs yet to come!
Latex needs a little extra care to ensure a long life, but we put together some handy tips with the help of Kaori. Latex can be difficult to put on if you don't know how, and while it may seem too small at first glance, it is a particularly stretchy material and needs to sit tight against your skin.
- Ensure you use talcom powder or latex-safe lubricant (usually whatever is safe to use with a condom) inside the item and on the skin it will be connecting with (for example, when putting on the gloves, please put lube/talc onto your hand and on the inside of the glove).
- Be careful of any sharp objects such as nails when putting on the latex. Although latex is fairly thick, it is not as pliable as some fabrics and could tear against sharp edges.
- Don't worry if you have any talc on the outside of the glove - most latex is worn polished to give an enticing shine. Polish off the talc using a latex safe silicone spray or lubricant.
- When you have finished wearing your latex, you can wash it in warm soapy water, rinse and leave to drip dry.
- Store the latex in a plastic bag in a cool place, avoiding the sun (as this will deteriorate the latex).