Headlining event of this year’s London Fetish Weekend at the start of October, ZDR Dollhouse was another colourful collaboration between LFW hosts Team Absolute and Zara DuRose’s ZDR organisation.
Taking place at King’s Cross venue Scala — London location of choice for ZDR and used for some Torture Garden events too — the Ball marked the next stage in the development of ZDR’s Dollhouse-themed night following its earlier launch in Brighton.
Any doubts about how the Dollhouse theme might be interpreted were quickly dispersed on arrival at Scala’s first-floor bar.
This brightly lit space allows you to catch your breath and get your bearings before hitting the dark interior — the main auditorium with its dancefloor and stage where the shows take place.
Zara generally makes a point of putting some kind of installation — either a purely visual spectacle or something with interactive possibilities — in one corner of this bar area.
And for this ZDR Dollhouse party, the emphasis was clearly on Barbie-ism.
Near the top of the stairs leading up from the front door was a human-sized Barbie ‘display box’, ready to accommodate individuals who fancied elevating their ‘living Mattel doll’ fantasies to the next level.
And there turned out to be plenty of those during the course of the night!
Next to it, a larger, walk-in space entered through an elliptical, doll-themed ‘picture frame’ had obviously been designed to accommodate groups who might want to pose together for photos.
It was a sign of the times — and good thinking by the evening’s hosts — that both these structures were there specifically for guests to take pictures in appropriately-themed settings.
This was the antithesis of the ‘no photography’ mindset of more traditional fetish events, and seemed totally in keeping with the exhibitionistic streak that ZDR seems to bring out in its patrons.
Photo-pass-carrying ’togs like myself were as attracted to these convenient backdrops as the evening’s numerous camera-phone-wielding partygoers were.
Hence, in my two ZDR Dollhouse People galleries below, you’ll find the majority of audience members were shot in one or both of these purpose-built sets.
My apologies, if the background pinks, reds and oranges become a bit repetitive in my 50-plus images of the crowd. But that’s how most people wanted to be photographed, and it made sense to go with the flow!
Blonde bombshell Constance Peach started the ball rolling with a burlesque strip that progressed unhurriedly from classic bunny girl costume via flesh-coloured undies to a complete state of undress.
Topanga Love was next on with one of her staple routines. Not staple as in basic, but as in stapler, the handy office device she used (with great nonchalance) to affix feathers to various areas of her skin.
Folie À Deux, performed by Venus Raven and Winter James, suggested what could happen if a Barbie-ish blonde in a baby-blue latex dress found herself on the wrong end of a black-clad, hooded dominatrix with a penchant for piercing.
Final act of the ZDR Dollhouse line-up saw Mistress Amrita teaming up with frequent performance partner Giada Da Vinci, playing a mannequin brought to life solely to become a human pincushion and candlewax canvas for her mischievous ‘owner’.
The Scala audience took the last two displays of BDSM theatre in the spirit they were intended — darkly humorous twists on the Dollhouse theme designed to appeal to fetish sensibilities.
ZDR’s London events seem to attract a somewhat different crowd from what I think of as ‘traditional’ London Fetish Weekend patrons.
Its audiences — dressy and exhibitionistic — may be less ‘hardcore fetish’ in their personal style. But they’re definitely up for a good time in which extreme entertainment plays a significant part.
There was a good natured, celebratory air about this party, which for me evoked classic Torture Garden nights at venues now long lost to the clutches of property developers.
In one respect, however, ZDR Dollhouse differed significantly from most events of that ilk: all the shows started on time.
In the fetish world, that, in my experience from 35-plus years of kinky clubbing, is still a phenomenon rarer than hens’ teeth.
The next ZDR event will be Intergalactic Filth at Scala, London, on January 18.
Published December 23, 2019
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