The Compendium of Rubber Garment Making

The Compendium of Rubber Garment MakingIn this blog, in our magazine, and pretty much when we are out and about at latex events, shooting models and talking with designers, we are involved in the styling of this alternate haute couture we love so much. But when it comes to the making of fetish wardrobe, lots of what happens in a designer’s studio is pretty much magic. But no more. The U.K.’s Catasta Charisma, who recently partnered with ExxEss Latex, has just released his 2nd manual on creative couture creation. A 668-page downloadable PDF, the book, The Compendium of Rubber Garment Making gives us all a peek into the magic…and lots more.

The book’s first half is concerned almost exclusively with working with rubber, the 2nd with making bespoke patterns for every body part. There are sections also that are concerned with care of garment and wearer, exploring the history of the material, explorations on the world of fetish and how to use Photoshop to draft patterns.

Heath Clark, also known as Catasta Charisma—sometimes just as “Cat”—was born in 1970, in the same coal mining village where he still presently lives and creates. Charisma has exhibited his paints and drawings in galleries around the world and after closing his patchwork fabric shop three years ago, began to devote his time on rubber tailoring and came to work with ExxEss Latex. With ExxEss Charisma has been involved with the top lifestyle events we all know so well, Montreal Fetish Weekend, RubberCult London, Avantegardista, to name just a few.

Certainly one of the better-known names in our specific moda world, there is no way anyone with even a slight interest in rubber clothing making or designing in general should pass up the opportunity to purchase Catasta Charisma’s new The Compendium of Rubber Garment Making.

You can buy your copy here.

Tony Award Couture

Tony Awards 2018It could be argued that the Tony Awards are a niche event broadcast, certainly centered round the theatre world in New York City. Although popular with many, still this award presentation celebrating ‘The Great White Way’ pales in grand viewership with the Grammy’s or the Academy Awards. This is not to say though that the haute couture seen last Sunday night wasn’t spectacular and worth noting.

One should expect a little wardrobe creativity when it comes to the likes of Crazy Ex- Girlfriend star Rachel Bloom. Rachel was backstage host, grabbing hosts and award recipients in seemingly off-script moments at the show. Walking in across the red carpet the comedian clearly showcased an outfit befitting her approach. Rachel matched her tulle skirt with a bespoke (made from someone who contacted the star via social media) Stephen Sondheim smoking tee.

There seemed to be a bunch of metallic on view for the gowns and get-ups of the invited this night. Marissa Jaret Winokur wore a very tight, shiny blue electric dress. Tony nominee LaChantze sported a dress of almost all blue material, but from her knees down but it ended with a sparkle silver bottom. Tiffany Haddish was mixing and matching silver with paisley in her Michael Kors. And Tina Fey’s outfit matched a silver top with a Thom Browne feathered skirt

Co-host Josh Groban walked in wearing a purple suit, while Grey Henson of Mean Girls matched him in a velvet purple tux. Other men of note were Joshua Henry in black pants, a Cloak pastel tux jacket and bowtie. And looking like he raided wardrobe, Vogue’s Hamish Bowle went for a loungewear look with robe, PJ’s and slippers.

Elegance went to Rachel Brosnahan in her Dolce & Gabban gown. Laurie Metcalf in her black and white Christian Siriano black sash. And the always red hot Chita Rivera in a red one-shouldered gown (she won a lifetime Tony this night).

The Amazing Kate Spade

kate spade bagWe certainly know that one need not just be a fashion designer to make a distinctive mark on the moda world. Such was the case with Kate Spade.

The specifics of why Mrs. Spade less important than celebrating the woman’s work. How she came to make the first sketches of her bags from paper and scotch tape, to become a global fashion influence, is an amazing story. First with her most iconic accessory then branching out into home goods and luxury items, Spade was a culture star like very few others.

After studying journalism at Arizona State University Spade, known as Katherine Noel Brosnahan at the time, moved to NYC to become the assistant fashion editor at Mademoiselle. Five years later she was made accessories editor, where she got intimately acquainted with the handbags of the day, which she obviously thought she could make a mark in.

In 1993, she founded Kate Spade with her husband Andy, and a friend, Elyce Arons.

Naming her company from a combination of her and Andy’s name Kate came to see that her bags needed some extra ‘umph’ from her initial designs. She took the label, which originally had been on the inside of the bag, and sewed it to the outside.

Her brand identity was born and then there was no stopping Kate Spade.

Spade opened a SoHo shop, collected awards and eventually she and Andy sold their shares of the company to the Neiman Marcus Group. The year before that sale Kate Spade enjoyed $28 million in sales. The Spades went on to publishing, selling a bonanza of their style guides at the beginning of this century; named “Style,” “Manners” and “Occasions.”

“Kate Spade had an enviable gift for understanding exactly what women the world over wanted to carry,” Anna Wintour said in a statement about the lady.

Kate Spade is now no longer with us, but her legacy lives on.

German Fetish Ball Weekend 2018

GFB 2018The five-days of German Fetish Ball Weekend 2018 was a smashing success. This 15th year of the event had undergone some late-in-the-game changes (as we alerted you to a few months ago), plus competition from Avantgardista’s weekend and the Passion Fair. But things went forward swimmingly in one of the cities that hosts this kind of thing better than most.

Thursday’s VIP Reception Opening was called “Sonic Boom” this year. The next night’s “Sweet Surrenderevent, FetishGuerilla Revolution’s party a the KitKat (utilizing that club’s massive basement and its pool) and Saturday’s Ball were attended by what seemed to be as many old time GFBW regulars as newbies. This cross section of attendance proving that changes in dates and venues sometimes work to the betterment of an event.

For some reason the ball this year featured couture that was more fun than fetish-y. Following on the heels of the Fetish Fair there were a lot of new designers showing, making the focus less on strict black latex, leather and rubber couture and more fun and accessorizing. Designers on hand included Ana Kostina, specializing in Shibari stuff. Jaded Jewall with her fluorescent plastics, and Liverpool’s Amentium label.

What all this good feeling and heavy attendance proves is that there is room for anybody and everybody to put on events. If anything, it’s a more-the-merrier scene for us lifestylers it seems, as everybody amps up for just about anything and everything thrown at them; going to one event in this case does not mean somebody won’t be inclined to take in another…and yet another.

International alt. couture wearers, event players, see and be scenesters and fine feathered fashionistas of every order descended on German Fetish Ball Weekend 2018, as we assume they will again next year. 2019’s German Fetish Ball Weekend will take place in Berlin 5/29 to 6/2.

FashionistaCon 2018

FashionistaConFashionistaCon 2018 is coming. The 16th annual conference, happening 6/15 in NYC, will feature men and women from the moda industry giving forth on the theme of the event, “How to Make In in Fashion.”

A one-day, chock-full meet-up, here the editors lead industry’s best into sharing their stories, offering advice and presenting in career-focused panel discussions and keynote speeches, all that they know. From professional designers, stylists, editors, writers, publicists, marketers, buyers and merchandisers, attendees get the full skinny on what is currently happening.

Those presenting include: Laura Brown, Editor in Chief of InStyle; Susan Scafidi, founder and director of Fashion Law Institute; Mara Hoffman President and Creative Director, Mara Hoffman; Nine Farran, CEO and Founder of Fashionkind; Troy Surratt Founder, Chief Creative Officer Surratt Beauty and Charlotte Cho, Esthetician, Chief Curator and Co-Founder, Soko Glam…and many many others.

Specific subjects to be addressed for 2018: How to navigate an ever more racially inclusive fashion industry. The ins and outs of copyrighting (maybe Kendall and Kylie Jenner should take this class?). How to make your collection more “sustainable,” and exactly how to get a niche beauty brand going if you happen to be creating one or have one already.

There are possibilities throughout the day for one-on-one mentoring from the presenters as well. And of course, networking is highly encouraged.

The goal here is for attendees to go out into the mid-June night inspired, full to brim with haute couture inside info. And to have made good memories of a day they surely will be happy they did not miss and be better suited for a job in any portion of the fashion industry.

And have ever better ideas how to work their brand.

Tickets can be found below and they are going fast so go get them now. There is a limited space for this event. https://www.eventbrite.com/e/fashionistacon-nyc-how-to-make-it-in-fashion-2018-tickets-42288523111

Balenchiaga’s T-shirt shirt, Asian ladies make Allure and Paris Jackson walks out on Dior

Balenciaga. T-shirt shirtFrom time to time so much is happening in the moda world we have to present a few stories across one blog. Here are three of the latest.

Nobody puts fashion in fashion quite like Balenciaga. From skirts that resemble car mats to oversized “car coats” to scarves and clutches, the brand recently presented their T-shirt shirt. The over-thousand dollar item is really unlike most other haute couture this company (or any other designer) has produced. The tee is a long-sleeve button down attached to another tee and is part of the company’s Autumn 2018 collection.

In fashion magazine news, Allure revealed three covers for its upcoming June “Hair Issue.” Those covers feature Asian models Soo Joo Park, Fei Fei Sun and Fernanda Ly. Only two people of Asian descent have graced an Allure cover in the nearly 30-year life span of the magazine; actress Lucy Liu in November 2000, and Olivia Munn in the May 2014 issue. As the magazine’s editor-in-chief Michelle Lee, and Asian American remarked on this decidedly sign-of-the-time, yet what she obvious feels is still a lackluster move: “We’ve made a real effort to celebrate diversity on all platforms of Allure in the past two years. But, my God, only two covers?”

Michael Jackson’s daughter Paris walked out of a Dior fashion show in France this week. Set to walk for the Dior Couture spring/summer 2019 Cruise collection, the 20-year-old model said on Twitter:

“To be clear, I did not ‘storm out’ of the show. I quietly got up and walked out trying my hardest to not cause a scene, because I do not support animals being branded and whipped.”

Paris is referring to the how she came to view the horses used in the show. The women riding horses in the Dior show were sitting side saddle and therefore had to use a crop on the animals to get them to walk straight. The conditions-pouring rain with no covering-also made matters worse for the presentation.

Paris claims she is still a fan of Dior.

What She Was Wearing: That Special Day For Meghan Markle

The Royal WeddingJust this week past-May 19th, actually-Meghan Markle said “I do” to Prince Harry. The Royal Wedding, as all Royal Weddings are, was a very big deal. In the U.K., USA, everywhere really this couple and their entourage certainly were treated as the celebrities they are. Everyone’s eyes were on the couple as the stood to be married at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor, England, as well as on them before the nuptials and after. But for fashion fans everywhere, this was more about what the new Duchess of Sussex was wearing.

Let’s start with her wedding dress.

The bride wore a Givenchy gown with a bateau neckline, designed by Claire Waight Keller. Much was made of the dress before, during and now even after the ceremony, with Keller given her right due in interviews across the net.

Of course a royal bride like M.M. had to sport a tiara. Hers’ was the Queen Mary Diamond Bandeau Tiara, which was ‘loaned’ from Queen Elizabeth II. Made in 1932, this very special accessory is set with a center stone diamond and is made of a flexible band in eleven sections.

How could any bride, especially one as important as this one, not wear a veil?

Meghan Markle’s veil represented the full 53 countries of the British Commonwealth, sporting the distinctive flower of each country through the veil’s floral, five-meter-long trim and silk tulle. Those ‘representative’ flowers were hand-embroidered. In addition, Meghan made her own two personal distinctions by including two of her most favorite flowers on the veil; Wintersweet, and the California Poppy. That poppy of course comes from the place of her birth.

Now what would an outfit be without shoes?

Meghan’s shoes for her special day were made of silk duchess satin, based on a refined point pattern from the same designer as her dress, Givenchy.

What this particular lady wore before, during and after her wedding will continue to be scrutinized, but surely for her special day she looked perfect.

Brooke Shields Swims For Us All

Brooke Shields Swimsuits For aAll“After 50 years in the spotlight, I can confidently say that my ‘Power Suit’ is being in my own skin, showing my body and not hiding it.” Brooke Shields tweeted this announcement alongside a picture of herself in the new Swimsuits for All campaign, appearing this week. The 52-year-old mom of two is part of the “Power Suit” bikini campaign.

The superstar model and star of Suddenly Susan freely admits being insecure about her looks for a very long time. In a “People” interview Shields said for years she felt “disconnected” from her body. Hard though that it might be for fans of her work, or just those of us who assume models are always so sure of themselves.

Brookes is not the only famous face (and body) featured in the body-positive swimsuit brand’s size-inclusive Power Suit campaign. She joins four other women-professional swimmer Pat Gallant Charette, reality star Angela Simmons, nurse practitioner Katie Duke, and fellow super model Ashley Graham. Graham has lent her face and body to Swimsuits for All’s campaigns plenty of times in the past. Showcasing as much a diversity of body type, professions and ages-the ladies here range in age from 30-67-Shields is front and center of the new ads, wearing a power red bikini.

Just two months ago Shields hit Instagram with some black and white bikini pics that set the blog o’sphere on fire. She was vacationing on Harbour Island when she revealed her willowy frame and tight tummy for the world to see. But really, this stunning lady has been catching our eye since her teen years modeling for Calvin Klein in some controversial (at the time) jeans adds, as well as her turn as a 12-year-old prostitute in the movie Pretty Baby.

There seems to be no stopping Brookes Shields, no matter what age she is and regardless of what she is wearing.

Karla, Yoko And Jeans: Levi’s 501 Day

levis-x-karla-amber2One of the most iconic brands of clothing in America is Levis. And the jean’s company’s “501” pants boast a long and rich history. With its famous rivet-pocket patented in 1873, to right up to now with how Karla Welch is celebrating 2018’s Levi’s 501 Day, from the modern-day cowboy to the well-heeled fashionista, we can’t much ignore our Levis.

Welch is stylist to many a celeb; Sarah Paulson, and Justin Bieber among her clients. You might recall her launching of “x Karla” with Hanes but a year ago. Landing both the number one spot on The Hollywood Reporter’s ‘Power Stylist’ List and ‘Stylist of the Year’ on Daily Front Row last year. Welch is tops in the field of elite stylists working today.

For Levis this year she has created hemmed knickers, fringe-jacketed detailing and many other styles for her The Levi’s x Karla 501 Day Collection.

Welch also enlists clients to help her new campaign, plus the talents of one very famous lady, known for her own iconic standing in culture. Modeling in the video made for the new 501 collection, are ladies like Yara Shahidi, and the music in the video features Yoko Ono’s, “Yang Yang.” Originally released on Yoko’s 1973 Approximately Infinite Universe, this song could be considered a plea, certainly presently, to gun-control. Welch indeed requested Levi making a donation to that cause working with them here.

“You wear your jeans and you get a story out of them,” Welch says of the 501s. And really, wwearing-in your Levis, getting them just right to your body, is what this particular couture is all about. And what makes wearing and owning 501’s so thrilling really; you live with those jeans as much as wear them.

The Levi’s x Karla 501 Day Collection is a great way to celebrate such an iconic brand….from a world class celebrity in the fashion field.

Wardrobe @ The 71st Cannes Film Festival

Cannes 2018We might all think it is about the movies, but the yearly Cannes seems to really be about who shows up on the red carpet and who they are wearing. This year’s 71st Cannes Film Festival is drawing as much sartorial concern as ever, and the celebrities are not disappointing in their wardrobe choices.

Less we think the ‘Naked Dress’ faze has long past, the ladies who showed, so far, on the French Riveria for movie premiers and parties are certainly still showing lots of themselves. Kendell Jenner, no shirking violet when it comes to exposure, has so far shown off two gowns rating high. She wore a white silk, multi-tiered Schiaparelli Haute Couture gown, with a completely sheer top, and nothing other than Kendell underneath. She also stepped out at the Secret Chopard Party wearing a sheer Alexandre Vauthier mini. Once again she was bare-breasted under the gauzy and glittery fabric that was mostly see-thru.

Also making the see-thru high-lights: Irina Shayk in a red Versace cut at the sides from her torso down her sides, exposing both legs and appearing more like attached panels then one full outfit; Chantel Jeffries in a strappy metallic gown with open front, all the way down her front and then in a sheer white lace dress, again exposing lots of leg and cleavage; Tallia Storm in a Jean-Paul Benielli sheer black gown with a long train, and then in a sheer-er, netted black dress revealing even more of her body.

Some stars are indeed stayed covered up. Diane Kruger made the red carpet wearing a long and elegant purple gown with one of the longest trains yet seen. And Cate Blanchett managed to step out in a black long sleeve top ensemble with a rainbow skirt.

And to think we still have to the end of this week to catch even more moda mysteries!