London Fetish Weekend 2017 will celebrate its tenth year providing a platform for Londoners and visitors alike to come together and experience a wide variety of kink events in one programme.
And while most of the original programme has been retained, one notable casualty of the move is the Torture Garden LFW Special, now out of the schedule because a suitable venue couldn’t be found.
“It’s been a roller coaster of a ride since my baptism of fire at Skin Two Events,” says LFW founder and event coordinator Max Absolute.
“And sad to say, it appears that the process and difficulties of producing any fetish event seems to have come full circle since then, with the selection and options for suitable venues dwindling by the day.
“Having as many as ten events in a weekend obviously poses a challenge to scheduling, but then to add unexpected venue losses and venue uncertainty to the mix makes it nigh on impossible to run.”
Some commentators blame these difficulties on the British Government’s reversion to more puritanical ways and venues’ consequent distancing of themselves from anything ‘sexual’.
But while venue challenges have visibly influenced the London Fetish Weekend 2017 format, Max says they have also provided the opportunity to “invite some new talent into the family”, and to revisit one particular event feature that it had not been possible to include in the original plans for this year.
Hopefully all this will be some compensation for the absence of Torture Garden from this October’s programme — something the legendary fetish club did its utmost to avoid, explains TG spokesperson Charlotte TG:
“After months of trying to pin down a weekend that meant all events scheduled to be involved could find suitable venues, we have had to admit that it just isn’t going to be possible this year, and sadly TG won’t be part of the LFW line-up for 2017.
“This is a real shame as the weekend has consistently grown in popularity and we’ve really enjoyed being part of the team. But fingers crossed we’ll be back again next year!”
Adds Max Absolute: “TG have on several previous LFWs had to bow out and none of us takes it personally! The LFW has seen so many brands and clubs be part of the weekend and sometimes it’s good to shake things up a bit. But we would of course be delighted to have them back in 2018.”
FETISH THEATRE: Beatrix Carlotta joins the line-up of this year’s LFW (photo: Josh Brandao)
This ‘shake up’ has given three new brands the chance to get involved in London Fetish Weekend 2017.
The award-winning Zara DuRose will be putting “an erotic sassy slant” to Saturday 7’s proceedings by way of some “very naughty” cabaret performers. This ZDR Cabaret & Kink production promises to deliver “a luxury erotic experience to knock the socks off anyone expecting a 50 Shades Saturday”.
Second new brand is the brainchild of Von Hugo and his partner — the swanky members only club, Xanadu Society. It’s open house on Friday 6 for guests to enjoy a Club XS cocktail evening in the centre of Soho before heading off to Subversion Noir in Vauxhall.
The third new addition is the weekend’s opening event on Thursday 5. Fetish Theatre with Beatrix Carlotta & Crew takes place at Resistance Gallery, one of London’s last remaining alternative art and performance venues.
Beatrix (above) is one of just a handful of performers working exclusively in the fetish and art genre. After presenting well-received editions of her avant-garde, thought-provoking and humorous Fetish Theatre, Beatrix was thrilled, we hear, to be invited to contribute to LFW.
On Friday 6, Subversion Noir, representing “the dark, twisted naughty side” of London’s fetish scene, will join forces with Club Subversion to provide a huge five- room special event at new venue Fire in Vauxhall. The mission is to cater for everyone from the kink-curious through to “fetish filth bags”.
LAM — the London Alternative Market — has managed to find an alternative venue to last year’s hall after the hall management revealed it had already been booked for 2017 by somebody else.
LAM will now be held in a new and bigger venue: The Chablis Suite at the Novotel London West, Hammersmith, on Saturday 7. It boasts a 1,360 square metre ground floor exhibition space and is said to be of a similar quality and cost to the Royal National Hotel in Bloomsbury, but twice the size.
The Suite also has the advantage of its own entrance, bar and toilets. It is wheelchair friendly and has disabled toilets within the main room.
SHOPPING: Le Boutique Bazaar (EctoMorph stand above, photo by Hyder Images) and LAM will offer two days of LFW retail therapy
The larger LAM venue this year has allowed for plans to bring back the New Designer Award, a project Max Absolute has been determined to revive.
“We did the original New Designer Award as a standalone event which was impossible to produce in a way that would cover its own expenses,” she explains. “But now we have a large hall, we can use this space to show the three finalists.
“I think it’s important to encourage new talent and creativity on the scene, and by putting this kind of award in place, it gives opportunity and exposure to new designers who are the lifeblood of the scene itself.”
Already confirmed judges and fashion champions include Cynth Icorn, Zara DuRose, Jed Phoenix and others tba.
In addition to the New Designer Award, LFW will be creating an award in honour of corset maker Velda Lauder, one of the original judges of the New Designer Award, who sadly died in 2013.
The exact title of the new award is yet to be decided, but it is intended to acknowledge the recipient’s contribution to “quirky kinky creativity”.
Sunday 8 afternoon sees the popular LAM Workshops reconvening at Revolution, in the City of London’s America Square.
At the same time, just up the road from Revolution at McQueen in Shoreditch, Le Boutique Bazaar will be popping up again to offer shopping opportunities with around 40 vendors of fetish and alternative fashions and accessories.
And just when you think there can’t possibly be room for another event in the London Fetish Weekend 2017 programme, the weekend will finish with The Vaults basement party, also at Revolution.
More information will be available on the LFW website from next week, and you can also keep track of developments via various social media.
BELOW: LAM’s fashion shows (2016’s below) will expand in its larger venue (photo: LatexFashionTV)
Published January 24, 2017