We visit with an icon, The Baroness, whose New York based store has been the epicenter of high latex fashion for thousands including Lady Gaga, Beyonce and Katy Perry along with fashionable people around the world.
Established in 1993, The Baroness—New York’s premier designer of elegant, provocative latex clothing—was one of only three latex designers in North America. Working from home, she taught herself to work with this unique material through trial-and-error. She first sold her latex garments at events, to private clients, and through a wholesale rep.
In 1995 The Baroness launched Baroness.com, her award-winning website with the world’s first online Fetish Clothing Catalog.
After a decade of steady growth in both sales and fame, The Baroness moved into a combination boutique and atelier on East 13th street in New York City’s East Village in 2004.
The Baroness’ clientele included Lady Gaga for the Grammys, Victoria’s Secret for their fashion show, and Beyonce for the Met Gala. Her creations were worn on stage by Madonna, Nicki Minaj, Katy Perry and many others.
Determined to bring latex out of the closet and into the mainstream, The Baroness spread her gospel of latex and the power of clothing through her writings, lectures, interviews and television appearances on ABC America, E! News and Real Sex, among others. She became the sought-after spokesperson and authority on all things fetish. She wrote and/or was interviewed for The New York Times, Vogue, Interview, Visionaire and countless other publications.
For fifteen years, The Baroness’ monthly fetish party, The Fetish Retinue (“a Safe Place to do Dangerous Things”) provided a play/performance/social space where she held court and encouraged many, many curious newcomers to explore their desires. For those seeking something more exclusive, she hosted eight annual Royal Amusements (an exclusive and very formal dinner and play party). She was also a popular performer, speaker and MC at many other fetish events such as Smack!, The Black and Blue Ball, Click’n’Drag, Diabolique, Erotic New York, Miss Rubber World, The Montreal Fetish Weekend, and The Texas Latex Party.
As fetish was released from the bonds of secrecy and shame, the “scene” became a colorful, boisterous celebration of once-taboo desires and proclivities. That evolution produced a brief, colorful, fascinating piece of history over the last 30 years, and The Baroness was one of its driving forces. She is determined to preserve that history for all to see.
The Baroness has archived her fetish collection—garments, magazine articles, video, notes and more. You can now research The Baroness’ and New York's fetish scene history at The Leather Archives in Chicago, The Fetish Archives in the UK, and at The Texas Fashion Collection; and soon at The Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in New York.
The Baroness will realize her lifetime dream of moving to France, where she will continue to document and archive her years in the fetish scene through writings, short video histories of fetish luminaries, and possibly podcasts. She will return to designing latex clothes and making clothing as art once a new workshop is established at her new home in France.