Easily recognisable by his cheeky grin and red hair, Josselin Guichard is a familiar figure at many international fetish events, usually spotted wielding a large camera as well as a debonair attitude, happily shooting crowd and shows alike.
Recently, however, Josselin’s had other things on his mind: international shows for his Hedony Design latex fashion brand and in particular its London debut at Torture Garden on the first night of its Birthday Weekend.
Hedony Design was born in 2004, the brainchild of Guichard and model-cum-designer Hedony. Their initial intention was to set up a latex clothing brand that would break open the then-quiet French fetish scene by introducing latex to haute couture, mixing it with Calais lace and fine silks to make the most of latex’s shine and fit and show off its versatility.
Hedony and Josselin parted professional ways three years ago, but Hedony Design lives on and flourishes in Josselin’s hands. The label still features flattering cuts and bright colours that voluntarily step away from the usual fetish expectations, mixing materials with the same glee as Josselin transposes cityscapes and latex in his photos.
Particularly exciting news for Hedony Design is the new collection, a collaboration with French corsetière Blackitten, revealed for the very first time at TG’s International Fetish Ball on April 30. The new collection will then make its transatlantic debut at the Montreal Fetish Weekend in September 2010, where the label’s presence has been specially requested.
There are also plans in motion for a show at the Bal des Supplices in Lyon where there should be some more surprises, and for new collaborations on fashion shoots.
“As I’m a Torture Garden regular, the chance to introduce the new Hedony Design/Blackitten collection at what I consider to be one of the best fetish parties in the world is more than an honour,” enthuses Josselin. “David TG’s given us a fantastic opportunity and I’m delighted to be able to present a new collection at TG!”
Blackitten designs pin-up clothing and lingerie as well as corsets, specialising in vintage styles, and finding inspiration in everything from 18th century French costumes to the Spanish Movida Madrileña.
“The new collection gives Hedony Design a chance to widen its range and develop more of an haute couture side, mixing corsetry and lingerie with latex to create something that’s ever more subtle and stylish,” says Guichard.
It’s an example of his constant search for ways to introduce latex into mainstream fashion and culture, soon to be manifested in several promising collaborations, including special work for French ex-pornstar Clara Morgane in her new music video.
Hedony Design has had great success with collaborations in the past, working with many important figures on the fetish scene. The label has been modelled by such well-known names as Emily Marilyn, Vima, Toxica, Darenzia, Apnea and Jade Vixen, and has been shot by photographers such as Kendrible, Maxime Avet, Bommi, Wod, Chris Ayres and Silent View.
And while Guichard’s designs have previously been seen on the catwalks at the German Fetish Ball in Berlin, La Nuit Démonia in Paris and most recently Fetish Evolution in Essen, his London show at Torture Garden definitely moves things up a notch.
Living and working in Paris’s Pigalle district, Josselin wields a French touch that’s as obvious in his pictures as in his clothing designs
While working hard with Blackitten to make sure everything is perfect for TG on April 30, the designer is already looking to the future for fetishboudoir.com, home of his party pictures, blog and fashion portfolio.
Living and working in Pigalle, the traditional Parisian red-light district, yet only a stone’s throw from the classic delights of Montmartre, Josselin wields a singularly French touch that’s as obvious in his pictures as in his clothing designs. Paris features frequently in his photos, with models posing like tourists in front of Nôtre Dame, on the bridges over the Seine, or on the Champs Elysées.
Guichard’s determined objective has always been to blur the boundaries between fashion and fetish, and this has led to the development of a visual style embodying a degree of finesse that’s in a class of its own. An avowed perfectionist, he settles for nothing less than the best, and looks to bring it out in his models, making use of colours and detail to enhance the female form.
Contrast and colour have always been his weapons of choice to bring out the glamorous, the sexy and the fetishistic.
“I enjoy black and white photography, but I’ve never enjoying working in black and white.” He says. “I try to produce images as close as possible to my original vision, and my vision so far has always been in Technicolor.”
His photography, in particular the outdoor work, has an almost retro quality to it in the simplicity of its aims. Evocative in some ways of 1960s Vogue style, the bright colours and particular use of sunlight make his images instantly recognisable. His pursuit of the purely aesthetic leads Josselin to work with different models in different locations, always on the alert for something new.
“I work mostly on instinct,” he claims. “A model whose face, look and style I like will make me want to take pictures. If after that we can agree what we want to shoot, there we go!”
Though Guichard very much enjoys the many challenges of outdoor shoots, his studio photography demonstrates the same precision and attention to detail, but also the same sense of fun. Making use of simple props such as a bead necklace or a lollipop (or even guest appearances by his cat Leeloo), he manages to bring out in his models something very different from what other fetish photographers achieve.
The contrast between the very polished finish on the pictures and the underlying humour, the obvious technique and control over the image, and a keen eye for colour and pose all combine to produce results that are striking yet absorbing, and with a definitive Hedony twist.
“Over the past three years I’ve started working with new models,” he explains, “but I’ve still kept my own latex designs at the heart of my pictures, using them as an energy to move my pictures closer to a fashion atmosphere, since they do generally stand out from the classic ‘fetish’ style.”
Design and photography are profoundly entwined in the work of this man — one of very few fetish designers to be so involved in the photography of their own creations. And this symbiosis has become more important than ever with the new collection looming.
The show he has devised for Torture Garden is a chance for him to create a new Hedony Design experience, and to win new recognition. It’s an exciting time, with much to gain if he can fully capitalise on the opportunities it presents.
Fortunately Josselin Guichard has never been afraid of a challenge or of hard work, so really, 2010’s looking as bright for him as one of his sunny Parisian fashion shots.
‘I use own latex designs to move my pictures closer to a fashion atmosphere, as they generally stand out from the classic fetish style’ – Guichard