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Kinky fashion S/S 2022 -

By now we can say it: the summer 2022 that has just passed has staked everything on hotness—in every sense. Think, for example, of the heat-reactive garments by Di Petsa and Sinead Gorey, which have become the symbol of erotic tension this season, or the cropped down jackets by Goom Heo and Sia Arnicka, which transport us directly to the sweaty dancefloor of a club. Meanwhile, another slice of designers has put a different kind of hotness into practice. "Silicone can be erotic and warm to wear," explains designer Ella Angelee, referring to her synthetic dresses. In addition to the "touch me" dresses and summer parkas, this season the designer has presented a series of garments made from latex and silicone—all rigorously embellished with the surrealist touch that also marked the S/S 22 season.


But latex and silicone are not new materials for the fashion world. Mainly used in the fetish sector, these fabrics have been revisited for some time now by designers and fashion houses looking for a thrill, to add a pinch of subversion to seasonal prêt-à-porter . Last March, for example, Demna Gvasalia accessorized the looks of the Balenciaga Cruise 2023 fashion show with a series of latex masks, while for the A/W 22 Versace fashion show dressed the models on the catwalk with latex leggings under all kinds of suit. And it is certainly no coincidence that Donatella reserved a front row seat for Julia Fox, an actress who describes her style as "dominatrix couture" and who wore Versace latex from head to toe, accompanied by a long ponytail.


Alongside (but not outside) the BDSM realm, latex has historically also been known as an emblem of Hollywood sex symbols. Just think of Michelle Pfeiffer's Catwoman, or Pamela Anderson in a silver maxi dress or a squeaky pink mini ​​dress: a subversive (and decidedly sexier) response to Hervé Léger's iconic bandage dress . And then there is the Kardashian clan, Pam's cultural heir, which in recent months has definitely taken up the actress's iconic latex proposals. Last April, in fact, Kim worn a series of gummy looks that recalled Pam's early career style: from the high-necked catsuit for the talk by Ellen to the bustier dress for the premiere of The Kardashians. At the same event, half-sister Kylie also wore latex, albeit in a less conventional look.


Taken from Coperni's A/W 22 inspired by schoolgirls, the dress in question was made of white latex twisted in some points to create rosette-shaped details. Between cable knit sweaters, balaclavas with Batman ears and extravagant glass bags from the collection, the latex dresses by designers Arnaud Vaillant and Sébastien Meyer, in lemon yellow and cotton candy pink, proposed a decidedly softer and sweeter approach to fabric.


"It always refers to something extremely sexual," says Marie Monique Fei referring to latex and its associations. “I can't explain why, but I've always been fascinated by latex. I wanted to know how it feels to touch it, wear it, play with it and be covered in it.” This is the fabric used by the designer to create what she describes as a "fetish for grannies", a unique hybrid of knit and latex developed during years of crocheting sessions with the "aunts" in Shanghai and experimenting in the classroom Central Saint Martins fabrics.


“Latex and knitwear are drastically opposite materials, but also share stereotypes and preconceptions,” she says. “Knitwear is commonly associated with grannies and old maids, while latex is mainly related to fetish and clubwear." With her composite garments, Marie hopes to subvert the connotations associated with these fabrics, bringing sensuality to the neckline of knitwear and a kind of familiarity with the sex appeal inherent in latex. 'I want to question what is considered sexy and desirable and what is not,' she explains. 'I find older, older women to be very sexy, and I also like playing with the idea of ​​'glamorous'. I love how seductive games and wearing sexy lingerie can sometimes be something very awkward."


Launched at the beginning of the season, Marie's graduation collection is a hymn to the figure of the "spinster" and her relationship with textile traditions. A knitted sweater with real cat fur recalls the "cat lady", while the yarns made from dryer lint speak of the labors of the house. “I love the contrast between materials that might seem repulsive at first and something as attractive and sexual as latex. Once combined, even lint suddenly becomes an object of desire," says Marie. A celebration—but also a subversion—of modern femininity, Marie's knit and rubber bustiers, bras and capes have made a splash among the iconic figures of the today's avant-pop, including Arca, Oklou and Caroline Polachek.


Elsewhere, in the realm of shiny fabrics, designer Ella Angelee is creating ethereal naked dresses by experimenting with silicone—a fabric which, like latex, is not new to the fashion world. A former student of fibers and material practices, Ella approached this material after seeing a silicone dress designed by Thierry Mugler on display in Montreal—if you don't know it, just remember the wet look dress that Kim she wore at the 2019 Met Gala. "Breast implants, shampoo, cosmetics, silicone on and inside the body used in the beauty industry or to alter one's appearance are nothing new," says Ella.


Ella's silicone robes have liquid-like qualities, dripping from her body in the form of hand-molded ripples. Even more than latex, in fact, the properties of silicone offer space to play, shape and sculpt the fabric into shapes that are super close to the body. Take, for example, the wearable works of Dutch artist Esmay Wagemans, body-modeled armor notably worn by Solange, Justine Skye and Cardi B. Last month, a colorful butterfly-shaped top of hers—no doubt inspired by the current Y2K obsession —has exploded social networks. "I'm always looking for the so-called 'mysterious valley'," Esmay told i-D in 2020. And the viral crop top hits that sweet spot that arouses desire, between weirdness and sensuality.


Credits images: from web








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