An Enigma, Wrapped in a Mystery, Covered in Latex
The Path of A Fashion Designer Starts With Classic Films & A Tight Skirt
This is the story, or part of it anyway, of
The Baroness, New York's premier designer latex fashions.
The Baroness has already had has more career pinicles than the average Joe can dream of.
She's been a run away, a run way success, & a run-away success.
It's a story that has it's beginnings in movies, a middle with a career in films, and is destined to one day be made into a film.
This part of her story, is about the development of The Baroness as a designer...
Inspired at the age of 10 by "the glamour and pageantry of Busby Berkeley musical extravaganzas," the young girl borrowed a sewing machine & in one single afternoon, made a jacket & a "too-tight skirt." From there, she moved on to fashions more arresting than form-fitting.
At 13 the young designer learned a clear lesson regarding the power of clothes. She "painstakingly painted" the stars & stripes of the American flag on shirts. She garnered attention alright ~ the attention of police, who were offended enough to slap the cuffs on her.
This was not her only brush with the law. The Baroness describes herself as having "problems with authority," her attitude & style causing problems with schools (later, with her jobs), and a history of being a run away.
It is here that The Baroness discusses how she's "Always known exactly who I am," and how this wasn't always a welcomed thing. There's a powerlessness of children ~ and The Baroness recognizes & responds to this in other youths as well. "I notice their look or dress & I tell them nothing's wrong. I tell them it's OK." Her philosophy is that too often we deem what children do or desire as a phase, & don't give them credit for knowing who they are. And if it is a phase, that's fine too. It's who they are then, and they know it.
They will either grow out of it, or grow into it, and either is fine.
Her authority issues rose to the top again as a designer in late 1970's & early 1980's, when fashion was all about the 'power suit.' Women were heavily invested in looking like the serious, non-gendered-beings they needed to be to get those corporate jobs & join men in the fight for greed. But The Baroness wasn't grinding out authoritative power suits; She was making lingerie.
Her company, Vax, was "inspired by Neo 60's, punk, & Victorian fashions," & her exotic fashion shows were performed at the trend-setting Mudd Club & The Ritz. Her designs along with her use of fabrics earned her recognition.
In 1983 she built a kimono for the cover of Time magazine ~ the kimono now hangs in the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, CDC. Other recognitions include being listed as one of the 'New Breed' by BFIA (Body Fashions/Intimate Apparel), & Dupont who referred to her creations as "wearable works of art."
She & her designs were drawing more attention than a child with American flag shirts, but this time, it was in a good way *wink*
Soon she was lured to the fantasy world of costume. Using her design skills to create illusions, The Baroness worked with Broadway theatre & Hollywood films. Working with the likes of Merchant-Ivory, Jack Nicholson & Paul Newman, she witnessed as costumes helped actors transform into their characters. She became even more aware of the power of clothing: Clothes are a way to communicate to ourselves & others the characters that we are, as well transform us into the characters we'd like to be.
It was during this time that The Baroness worked with Madonna, on the movie "Who's That Girl." She credits Madonna with being one of her influences, for Madonna exhibits one the "strongest work ethics" she's ever seen
Fortuitous that she should not only be blessed with such an example of a dedication to work, but the ability to value it as well. For soon, The Baroness was about to enter a new phase, or in Madonna terms, 'a reinvention,' herself.
About 12 years ago, The Baroness was given a gift. The gift of a latex dress... Though the dress didn't fit properly, she fell in love with the material, & has been working with it ever since.
In December 2004, The Baroness opened New York's only boutique devoted exclusively to latex clothing. Read more about The Baroness's fashions here. And you can read more about the The Baroness, fetish & BDSM, here.
Images of The Baroness © Mark McQueen, all rights reserved, used with permission.