Marvel’s latest super-hero epic,X-Men: Apocalypsetopped the box office over Memorial Day Weekend, bringing in over $80 million in four days. We’ve been watching the movie’s debut with bated breath — not only to make sure that the world didn’t get destroyed by evil mutants, but because it displays the hard work and imagination of Syren Latex’s designers.
The first week of May, The Stockroom will be joining Plunge Fetish at the legendary Hedonism II resort in Jamaica for an entire week of sexy, kinky play. Of course, we always love showing off our gear and toys, but Plunge isn’t just another event; there are few events that allow participants to indulge in their kinkiest fantasies for an extended period of time without being bothered by the cares or judgement of the outside world.
The Grammys always put on a great show, but between Lady Gaga’s salute to David Bowie and Kendrick Lamar’s prison-themed performance of “The Blacker the Berry,” there’s even more chatter going on than usual in social media. For us, the award that was most personally significant was Taylor Swift’s triple win: Best Pop Vocal Album and Best Album of the Year for 1989, and Best Video for “Bad Blood.”
The video for “Magnets” by electronic duo Disclosure has gotten a lot of press and Internet eyeballs since its release, thanks in part to New Zealand pop star Lorde doing the vocals and taking center stage in the video itself. Lorde deserves props for her musical and dramatic work; in the video, she brings a forceful charisma to the role of the euphoric lover and the wronged woman that brings emotional resonance to the story as it plays out onscreen.
We can hardly say this too many times: At The Stockroom we love Halloween. Not only is it a great excuse to embrace your inner wickedness, but it’s perhaps the best night of the year to go all out and get dressed up in a costume. We spend all year coming up with fantastic costume ideas, so Halloween is kind of like our big night.
Adult model and performer Skin Diamond has displayed some of The Stockroom and Syren Latex’s best costume ideas at Exxxotica and other events, much to our delight and that of her audience. This Halloween, she’ll be debuting a brand new routine while showing off some of Syren’s finest finery at Bar Sinister’s 7th Annual Ghostly Halloween Ball. The ball is a sexy and spooky shindig which will be hosted by Skin and our own Head Mistress, Hudsy Hawn, and features performances by Bella Bathory, Wry, and Sunny Megatron and Ken Melvoin-Berg. To get a preview, we talked briefly to Skin about her love of kitty play, latex clothing, and dressing up for Halloween.
When asked to describe the atmosphere of Boulet Brothers events, Dracmorda Boulet has a simple but evocative answer: “Wild abandon,” he says. “People just go crazy and have a good time.”
Halloween in particular is a holiday that encourages and feeds on “wild abandon,” and for Dracmorda and Swanthula Boulet, it’s an opportunity to indulge their gifts for fabulous decadence even more than usual. This October 31 marks the fifteenth time that they’ll be putting on Miss Kitty’s Annual Hollywood Halloween Ball, hosted by horror writer Clive Barker.
A photo posted by Boulet Brothers (@bouletbrothers) on
“The Halloween show’s going to be insane,” Dracmorda says. “It’s our biggest party of the year. We take an adult nightclub and mix it with Knott’s Berry Farm. So there’s like trick-or-treat booths and people jumping out and grabbing you all over the club, but we also have super slutty go-go dancers — both guys and girls. It’s just crazy. It’s like a haunted house nightclub.” Continue reading…
If you were keeping an eye on the Stockroom Twitter feed recently, you probably caught us showing off some shots from the July/August issue of Penthouse like proud parents. The photos are from a spread that’s part of Penthouse’s “Badass” issue, shot by TommyO and starring models Angela Sommers and Kendra James.
It also stars a lot of clothing from Stockroom, Stormy Leather, and Syren Latex, which is why we were doing the proud parent routine. Nothing validates our work more than seeing how people use our clothes and toys to bring their own imaginations to life. The imagination at work in the Penthouse pictorial is evident to even the casual observer, but the already vivid colors become just a little brighter if you know the story behind it.
Angela Sommers and Kendra James in a medical scene.
Every month, Penthouse invites a celebrity to come up with an idea for a pictorial. For the most recent “Badass” issue, they chose Jesse Hughes, frontman for Eagles of Death Metal to bring his vision to life. For inspiration, Hughes reached back over fifty years to an artist who had immeasurable influence on American culture, but who got little reward for his work during his lifetime: Joe Shuster.
Most people, if they know Shuster at all, know him for co-creating Superman with his childhood pal Jerry Siegel. With the 1938 introduction of Superman in Action Comics #1, Siegel and Shuster created not only an iconic character, but an entire genre. Imitators flooded the market, and eventually superhero comics evolved into the multi-billion dollar industry that we have today. Without Siegel and Shuster, our world would lack more than comic books; we wouldn’t have the blockbuster movies, video games, or television shows that now drive so much of pop culture.
Angela Sommers in bondage.
In a just world, Siegel and Shuster would have become wealthy within a few years. But before the first issue even hit the presses, they had signed all their rights to the character over to National Publications (now DC Entertainment) for a paltry $130 — about $2,000 in today’s money. In the decades to come, no amount of legal battling ever changed that.
While National raked in money, Superman’s creators — especially Shuster — struggled to survive on whatever work they could find after their ten-year contract expired. In 1948, a lawsuit to recover their rights to Superman failed; Shuster went through several unsuccessful projects, including a superhero book called Funnyman which flopped after only a few issues. By 1954, he was anonymously drawing kinky fetish art for an underground magazine called Nights of Horror.
In an unlucky series of events, those Night of Horror was blamed for a string of serial killings in a sensational murder trial in the 1950’s. the books were subsequently banned and burned, which makes original versions quite rare today.
Even among comics geeks, Shuster’s time doing kinky art was only faint rumor until 2009, when comics historian Craig Yoe identified the pictures and collected them in a book called Secret Identity: The Fetish Art of Joe Shuster. In an interview on Fresh Air, he described how Shuster’s art style remained the same even though the content was so very different.
Well, these are like Superman gone wild. I mean, characters look quite a bit like Clark Kent, Superman, and his counterparts Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen and the villain who plagued him, Lex Luthor. You think they’re the citizens of Metropolis, yet they’re in these very compromising sexual situations. I’ve been kind of amused and annoyed that some people have called the illustrations kind of quaint or charming because they are from the ’50s. But I think they’re anything but; there’s bloodletting and there’s whips and chains and a man menaces a young girl with a cactus…. The illustrations are quite strong, quite pulpy, yet beautifully composed, beautifully drawn, beautifully rendered in Joe’s strong, sure style.
That was the art that Jesse Hughes took as the inspiration for his Penthouse spread. Photographer TommyO says that the intent was not so much to reproduce the images themselves, but to capture the spirit of them in photographs. One of the biggest differences is that Shuster’s original art was black-and-white line drawings. The pictorial that Hughes and TommyO created uses color flamboyantly.
A page of Shuster’s fetish art from the 50s. Note how much resemblance the characters bear to his most famous creations: Lois Lane and Superman.
TommyO’s shots are lit strictly with bright primary colors that would be used in the printing process of a comic book: blue, red, yellow, and magenta. “Since he’s famous for his comic book images, it made sense to create a strong graphic element in the photography by adding wide swaths of color with gels on the lights. I don’t believe we used any white light at all that day,” TommyO said. “Shooting this set was a definite challenge, but one which I really enjoyed .The idea was to make Shuster’s art jump off the pages and into real, albeit fantasy life. His somewhat simple drawings left a lot of space to fill when using live models and locations. He also drew very minimal backgrounds in order to keep the attention focused on his characters.”
Eagles of Death Metal frontman Jesse Hughes seated with Kendra James and Angela Sommers.
Anyone who grew up on superhero comics — whether the Golden Age ruled by the holy triumvirate of Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman or the modern era, where the stories travel almost immediately to the movie screen — knows how easily their fantasy world touches on the sexual. Even before Shuster moved to doing art for Nights of Horror, his reputation was built on creating stories that were pure id; good and evil clash without restraint or inhibition in comic books.
That’s why we especially love having been involved in this particular spread. The reality of the latex clothing that Syren makes has a huge amount of overlap with the fantasy of superheroes. It’s one of the reasons that it works so well both as fetish wear for the dungeon or as glamor wear while striding down the red carpet. It’s why we love what we do.
Kendra James and Angela Sommers
We had another great example of how those two realms overlap when Taylor Swift came to us to help outfit her music video “Bad Blood.” Swift has gotten seven nominations from the MTV Video Music Awards for “Bad Blood,” and we feel a little swell of pride in that, too. As both “Bad Blood” and the “Badass” pictorial show, the right clothes can bring the visual kick of a four-color comic book into real life. TommyO will be demonstrating that for us again very soon: he’s currently using the same fashions from Swift’s video for another Stockroom shoot.
Congratulations to Jesse Hughes, TommyO, Angela Sommers, and Kendra James on their fantastic work. We hope that Joe Shuster would finally be proud to see how even his most unacknowledged work is remembered.
In the three days since Taylor Swift’s new video “Bad Blood” hit the Internet, it’s been viewed almost 30,000,000 times. That’s only counting the official version, not the various mash-ups, annotated versions, parodies, and unofficial uploads that are already filling up YouTube.
The appeal goes way beyond the usual show-business hype. Take a look at it below, and you’ll understand. It takes its cues from the best of the superhero movies that have come out in the last decade or so: the action is fast-moving and elegant, the sets are beautiful, and the costumes are sexy as hell. We have to not-so-modestly admit to being proud of our part in helping with that last bit. Watch that first fight scene, and you’re watching the handiwork of Syren Latex’s designers in action. Literally.
That first scene features Swift in the persona of “Catastrophe” beating up bad guys while wearing our Newmar Basque latex dress. A word of caution: no matter how much pride we have in our craftwork, we wouldn’t expect any of our clothes to survive a ten-story fall out of an office building. Or the person wearing them, for that matter. Even we have our limits.
Catastrophe’s ally-turned-nemesis, Arsyn (played by Selena Gomez), is wearing Syren’s Garbo Blouse, a piece that we love because it’s a great combination of Old Hollywood style with modern fetish materials. The consensus around the Stockroom offices is that the metal briefcase that Arsyn slugs Catastrophe with looks suspiciously like the one our Agent Noir Neon Wand Kit comes in. If that were the case, the whole story becomes easier to understand: It’s one of our most beloved products, and certainly worth fighting over.
Finally, there’s a beautiful shot of Destructa X (Ellie Goulding) brandishing a huge rocket launcher while wearing Stockroom’s PVC Waist Cincher. While neither Stockroom nor Syren carry the rocket launcher, we have to admit that it makes for a great accessory.
Swift’s team came to Stockroom and selected some of our finest clothes during production, and we have say that we’re delighted to see what they did with them. A lot of creativity and hard work goes into Syren’s clothing, and even though we’re a business, not all of that labor can be counted in dollars and cents. “Bad Blood” with all its vigorous eroticism and bold heroics, depicts some of the things that we love most about the clothing we make, and we’re honored that Taylor Swift and her creative team were able to capture that in their video.
From The Illustrated Master of O. Image by Fernando.
Jacqui, dressed in her “work clothes” – a black cotton garter-tank that covered all but her most private real estate (which still bore traces of O’s recent dressage work) and opaque black stockings to match – dug her black stiletto pumps into the carpet and strained at pulling O’s already compressed waist in a bit further.
“That’s it if you’re interested in breathing,” Jacqui declared.
Jacqui posed her in front of Marie’s tall rolling mirror, a big smile spreading across her face as O stared at the transformation.
She wasn’t wrong. The corset took O’s narrow middle in a good three inches, exaggerating her breasts, hips and buttocks even further. With only the faint contrast of her brown leather collar and cuffs and her nude high heels, O appeared to be sculpted entirely of gleaming flesh, Jacqui having oiled her exposed areas lightly before wrestling with the cincher.
Her proportions were so extreme she resembled an unpainted mannequin. O was going for that effect. Though never fully satisfied with her appearance, she was at least grateful for her rigorous exercise, light diet and regular lacings. In profile, the impact was even more arresting.
“Well,” O conceded, “at least it’s comfortable.”
Jacqui threw her hands in the air. “You’re insane! I’d be passing out about now.”
“You just have to breathe from your diaphragm,” O explained, “and it’s good for you in reasonable doses. Helps take the weight off your spine.”
Unconvinced of the practical benefits, Jacqui admitted that the look was, literally and figuratively, breathtaking. To underscore the point, she stole a kiss and copped a feel.
“Steven’s going to want to fuck you the minute he walks through the door.”
If there’s a single object more directly associated with fetishism than the stiletto heel, it has to be the tight-laced corset. A stern bulwark of steel (originally whalebone) boning and sturdy laces, it not only configures a woman’s appearance, but also constrains her movements, making it a wearable instrument of bondage. Limiting flexibility at the mid-section, it imposes an upright posture that presents the chest in full glory while thrusting the backside outward.
As men and women alike became obsessed with reduced waistlines, corsets became more extreme. They increasingly constricted breathing, producing dizziness and even fainting during carnal exertions. Thus, they function in this form as both a mobile bondage device and an instrument of erotic asphyxiation. At the height of the corset’s most punishing period – the end of the Nineteenth Century –waist reductions of four inches or more were not uncommon. The legendary Ethel Granger tightlaced her waist down to a gasp-inducing 13 inches by the early years of the twentieth century. To this day, The Guiness Book of World Records lists her as the smallest tightlaced waist every recorded, while the record for the smallest waist on a living person now belongs to Cathie Jung, who can lace down to 15 inches.
Predictably, fashion appropriates fetish just as fetish appropriates fashion. Corsets can be seen adorning the youthful figures of style vamps who have adopted them as outerwear in various colorful fabrics, not to mention leather and latex, on the dance floors of nightclubs all over the country.
However, a thriving sub-culture of old-style corset enthusiasts persists. Models like Dita von Teese — who can get down to a sixteen-inch waistline doing up her own laces — have been elevated to iconic status. Thanks to them and their admirers, the modern practitioners of the corsetiere’s traditional art remain very much in business.
Just like the skyscraper heels and seamed stockings with which they’re often paired, genuinely constricting corsets that give no quarter to comfort or convenience continue to enjoy a secret life as fetish confection. The public more often sees the less severe forms in music videos and on the racks of trendy retailers. However, many a fetishist owes their interest to a first glimpse in such a seemingly vanilla setting.
While they may wax and wane in popularity as club wear, the corset’s position in the bedroom remains as secure as the garment itself, ever a totem of femininity and the passions it inspires.
Ernest Greene is a writer, producer and director whose body of work comprises over five hundred adult titles, including Tristan Taormino’s Ultimate Guide to Anal Sex for Women and Jenna Loves Pain. His first novel, Master of O, is available in trade paperback and illustrated editions from Stockroom.
The lovely Stoya dropped by our Silverlake boutique where we outfitted her in some luxurious handmade leather pieces from the JT Signature Collection.
Each piece in the JT Signature Collection is designed and assembled in our Los Angeles workshop from garment leather and gold-plated hardware personally selected and approved by The Stockroom’s founder and president, Joel Tucker.