This is a landmark day in the life and career of celebrated designer Atsuko Kudo, one of the few people on the planet who can lay claim to the job title “couture latex designer.”
The London-based Kudo has been producing remarkable dresses, leggings, lingerie, catsuits and other pieces in the notoriously hard-to-work-with and hard-to-wear latex rubber for almost a decade.
So it’s a bit surprising that it’s taken this long for Kudo to mount her first runway show in North America. It happens tonight, in New York, where she is one of two featured designers at the sold-out Lingerie New York charitable event.
The event (more on that in a moment) will give Kudo’s masterpieces the kind of spotlight they’ve enjoyed in Paris and Milan and London for several years, and will almost certainly drive up North American interest in latex lingerie overnight.
And about time, too. It can be argued that Kudo’s work has single-handedly taken latex wearables out of the fetish closet and BDSM dungeon and into the fashion mainstream — well, its periphery at least — where daring fashionistas play.
In the past couple of years, Kudo has earned a devoted following from a very high-profile clientele — boundary-pushing female pop stars like Lady Gaga, Beyonce, Christina Aguilera, Janet Jackson, and fashion icons such as Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell and Kelly Brook. That’s Lady G (right) wearing Kudo’s infamous and iconic Elizabethan red leather frock to meet the Queen.
For those of us without a paparazzi posse, Atsuko Kudo produces some truly memorable bras, tights and basques (not to mention chokers, garters, cuffs and suspenders!) that you will NOT want to cover-up. Save your pennies for the next time you want to make jaws drop when entering your favorite club!
And despite the couture styling, Kudo’s pieces aren’t out of reach price-wise. A latex bra can be had for around $100 and even the puff-sleeve catsuit in the gallery below is only $325. More elaborate pieces, of course, cost more.
Tonight’s runway show is also worth noting. It’s the second show of its kind sponsored by the Seven Bar Foundation, a new-ish charitable organization that uses fashion-industry star power to raise money for micro-enterprise loans that help women start businesses.
The New York show is one of a series that began last year in Miami, using high-end lingerie designers to attract well-heeled donors. In addition to Kudo’s runway debut, tonight’s show will also feature a runway presentation from Carine Gilson, the French designer who is celebrating 20 years of producing silk and lace couture lingerie that ranks among the world’s best.
We’ll have more on Seven Bar’s campaign later. For now, enjoy the images below of Atsuko Kudo’s work, and be sure to browse her collection at atsukokudo.com.