Stylist Kate Ruth interviews the first lady of latex
Atsuko Kudo for Contributing Editor.
Kate Ruth: Where were you born and raised?
Atsuko Kudo: Chiba which is just next to Tokyo.
Did you study fashion? If so where?
I studied fashion at college in Tokyo. I then moved to London
to study theater costume at the London College of Fashion
but I studied more at the University of the Night Club.
How did you get your start in the industry?
I got a job making gimp masks in a sex shop
to try to learn to work with the fabric but lost that job in few weeks.
My partner and husband Simon Hoare was managing the shop
at the time and kept me on to work there to help deal with the mail order.
I started to work by myself with latex after work at night.
Because I couldn’t keep the job, I developed so many new techniques a
nd ideas of my own – in some ways I am flattered to say that some of these
techniques have been copied and have now become standard in the industry.
You have collaborated with a very impressive array of designers
and artists, could you tell us a little about some of your favourite collaborations.
Every collaboration is fun. It always brings something
that you would never have done otherwise. Working with Lady Gaga
has been a big thrill and along with Nicola her stylist she always requests
some very challenging pieces (and time schedules!). We designed
and made the catsuits for the Born This Way video and they had special zips
in them which involved a lot of very special techniques – but I’m not sure
if it shows in the video but I know (and Gaga and Nicola know) that it’s there!
She’s wearing another one of those suits on the current cover of the NME
in England and you can see the zips better!
We made some dresses for J-Lo recently collaborating with Michael Angel
(who is based in NYC) for a L’Oreal commercial and I was very happy
with how they fitted – because she has such an amazing figure I was worried
about it but luckily it was OK. It was a V necked dress and I was concerned
about the bust but in the end she looked great. The most recent collaboration
is with Mugler for the Paris ladies wear show and for it we even made a
new colour which doesn’t exist in latex – but that was difficult!
Who would you most like to see wearing your clothes?
The Queen! We were so thrilled to see her smiling when
she met Lady Gaga when she wore our Red latex Victorian/ Elizabethan queen outfit.
Now I feel it would be nice to make a latex outfit for the Queen.
Where can we buy your clothes?
We have a shop and studio in London where we design and make
all of the Atsuko Kudo products. We take bespoke orders there too – we have
a very knowledgeable staff who will help you to choose styles, color and trimmings.
We offer the same service on our website too. You can customise
the way you like it and we do online fittings to make sure the fit is perfect.
We have made many pieces for people all over the world who we never meet.
For example we made the yellow cowboy outfit for Beyonce with out meeting
her which maybe shows what is possible in that respect.
Because everything we do is hand made and couture pieces
we do not sell into other stores – but one day we may open another
Atsuko Kudo store in a different location…time will tell!
Photographer David Standish
Fashion Editor: Kate Ruth
All clothing by Atsuko Kudo
Earrings by Dean Sidaway
Model Georgia Frost at Select
Make-up by Jaimee Thomas at Frank using MAC
Hair By Peter Beckett at Frank using Kiehls
Fashion assistant: Sharna Newton
Photo assistant: Mark Simpson
Special thanks to Joe at Select Model Management
Special thanks to Snap Studios.