But whatever the reason for its belated inclusion in the official schedule, this strict latex dresscode party was a good fit with the other LFW events.
It meant LFW’s Saturday night now offered either a potential pre-party option before Zara DuRose’s later-finishing LFW Erotic Ball, or an alternative to it, depending on your tastes, energy levels and cash reserves.
I don’t know how many fetish weekenders made it to both events. But I do know that Rubber Cult’s usual hangout, The Alice on Houndsditch, was more packed than I’ve seen it on previous RC nights I’ve covered there.
These thrice-yearly events always boasts a few overseas visitors, attracted by RC’s reputation into making a rubbery pilgrimage to London EC3.
But the Rubber Cult LFW Ball on October 7 clearly benefited from a larger than usual influx of rubberists and latex fashionistas from abroad, along with other out-of-towners who were participating in the kinky weekend.
Such was the size of the crowd and the level of pervy energy on this particular night that the shortcomings of the venue most frequently complained about — high drink prices, lack of club-like atmosphere, underpowered sound system — seemed far easier to ignore.
With the exception of the headline appearance by ExxEss Latex, the American label currently wowing fetish events around Europe with exotic fashion performances, tonight’s shows were not as originally advertised.
But the support acts we did get — Charlie Bouquet with her balloons, and Betty Machete with her ponygirl outfit — caught the mood of the evening perfectly and delighted the crowd.
Charlie did two shows, the first of which combined pink balloon modelling with a rubbery variation on sword swallowing — a combination some members of the audience found rather saucy.
After a change of outfit which saw her reappear in one of those fab Torture Garden Latex hats designed by Marie Devilreux, Ms Bouquet’s second show also featured balloons.
This time, however, their purpose was principally to
Betty Machete, by contrast, arrived on stage in loose-fitting tracksuit top and bottoms, which she promptly removed to reveal black latex lingerie and some strappy accessories.
She then performed a kind of reverse strip that ended with her shaking her pony tail while dressed in a pony bridle and rubber hoof-mittens. Too cute for words.
Exxess Latex’s fashion show suggested that this label — originally German-American, but now more of a tripartite affair through its hook-up with UK designer Catasta Charisma — has evolved into the West’s answer to Japan’s Kurage brand.
Both feature amazingly imaginative, highly decorative, complex, fantastical latex creations that, while totally different from each other stylistically, set the pair of them apart from pretty much all other latex labels.
And when it comes to shows, both companies are apparently not happy unless they’re putting at least 20 models in 20 different outfits on the catwalk. That’s around twice as many as you typically see in a latex fashion show from a single brand.
In order to overcome the limitations of the Alice’s small, low stage, the ExxEss models came onto the stage one by one, and after a bit of showy polishing, were lifted off the front of it onto the aisle between the audience chairs and tables.
This allowed the models — including America’s Tish Marie, who has become one of the label’s most celebrated guest performers — to effectively extend the catwalk into the depths of the crowd, giving more people a chance to see close-up what all the fuss was about.
No RC night is complete without some stage announcements made using a radio microphone that doesn’t work properly, and the Rubber Cult LFW Ball was no exception.
Thankfully the winner of the evening’s best-dressed award, Mistress Manouche, did eventually hear the call, and went up on stage to receive her prize voucher from Helen of Amentium, whose laser-cut latex label is the subject of The Fetishistas’ October cover story.
Check out the galleries below for an initial selection of pictures that will provide some accompanying visual to these words. There’ll be more to follow shortly.
First published October 11, 2017. Updated October 13, October 20, 2017