At WearLatex we have long been admirers of Lüllepop’s unexpected couture, which combines latex with other materials, such as satin or chiffon, in one garment. Not only this; the latex which is part of these combinations is often itself unusual, being sometimes structured, or even “knitted” — an unusual form of latex we haven’t seen elsewhere.
All of these methods make Lüllepop the atypical latex designer. With the release of their latest collection “LUSSO ELEGANZA” last month, we took the opportunity to talk to Cathleen and André about the new designs, as well as the brand as a whole.
I’ve been curious about the name “Lüllepop”, sometimes transliterated as “Luellepop”. Can you share what it signifies?
It is the surname of my best friend. I fell in love with this name from the beginning, it was extraordinary and I just couldn’t get it out of my head. For that reason alone, I thought it would be the perfect name for a label that would become extraordinary. For me, this name combined elegance with playfulness. It makes you curious about what’s behind it.
Depending on the design, a mix of different fabrics are used, such as chiffon, cotton, or satin. However, one material is present in every design: Latex. How did latex come to be your principal material? What is it about this material that you love?
I have always been fascinated by bi-elastic (vertical and horizontal expansion) materials that don’t constrict the body but are still figure-hugging. Especially for clubwear, this was a very important aspect for me to be able to move freely. Latex already fulfils a key point in this respect. But with its special gloss, this “velvety shine”, and the exciting haptics, latex finally conquered my heart.
The term which you have coined, “Latextil”, a portmanteau of Latex and Textile, seems a perfect summary for all of your latex techniques. Did you set out to do something different with latex from the very beginning, or did Latextil evolve once you had already started creating with latex?
It was obvious from the beginning that our label would work creatively and innovatively with latex.
The combination of textile fabrics with latex played a major role. Already during my studentship as a fashion designer, I started to explore the possibilities of processing latex. Especially the durability and the clean processing of the latex and fabric connections (especially on the insides of the outfits) were very important to me.
Do you think there is a reason latex and textiles aren’t combined more often? Do you believe that with latex becoming more popular we will see more innovations? Do innovative latex techniques themselves have a role in making latex more mainstream or ‘accepted’?
We can’t answer why the combination of latex and fabrics is not offered more often. Perhaps it is because of the complex processing. It requires certain machines and different production techniques.
We strongly believe that there will be more and more innovations in latex fashion. Fashion is always changing and brings forth innovations, it doesn’t matter what material it is made of. Further development is inevitable in every industry and important for its continued existence. Of course, new processing techniques in latex fashion are conducive to making latex become more mainstream and we hope we can contribute to this.
It’s evident how painstaking the knitted latex wear must be to create, and it’s also clear that it’s a form of latex wear that is breathable. I’m really curious what the sensation of this is like next to the skin. Although it may be hard to describe, can you give a sense of how it feels to wear knitted latex?
It is really hard to describe how knitted latex feels on the skin, but we will have a go. Because of the amount of processed latex and the knitted stitches, it feels like a kind of air cushion. It is squeezable. The highly enhanced bi-elasticity also makes it particularly easy to dress and undress. A customer once described it by saying “it feels organic”.
In February you launched a new collection “Lusso Eleganza” – elegant and luxurious. Can you share something of your design process, such as what inspired you in the creation of a new collection, and if there was a certain design philosophy always present in the new works? Since these are your most recent designs, can you pinpoint anything different in the way you personally approach the creative and technical process today, versus when you first began Lüllepop in 2009?
When the label was founded in 2009, it was a bit more colourful and playful. Over the years, we have focused more and more on elegance. We enjoy giving women the opportunity to have a little couture in their wardrobes with elegant latex outfits. In the design process we always focus on making our customers feel like goddesses. They should feel comfortable in the outfits and have the feeling of being something very special.
Between collections we are always on the lookout for exciting materials that we immediately fall in love with; these materials have a major role in the design process. It is also important to us that the designs become timeless and sustainable creations.
It is clear that not just the designs themselves but photography plays an important role for your brand, in helping evoke that Lüllepop quality of elegance and luxury. Can you elaborate a little on the creative process when deciding on shoots and also when putting together lookbooks?
Our photoshoots are always very time-consuming in terms of preparation. For example, we love to find exciting and thrilling backgrounds. Among other things, we go for a long stroll with our dog every day and look for inspiration. For this, we go to a different place in nature each time. During these strolls, nature inspires us in many different ways. Elaborate productions emerge from small ideas. We also have a lot of fun creating locations out of different materials, which are inspired by nature or come entirely from our imagination.
To quote your page: “Lüllepop Atelier doesn’t just design a piece of clothing. Rather, it is a clothing identity that is being created here”.
So often, those who have tried wearing latex describe it as a transformative experience. Perhaps for this reason it has also become popular with cosplayers and celebrities, who have a certain “public persona” or “stage identity” to live up to. What do you think is that special quality of latex that lends itself so well to transformation and creating an identity?
Fashion is a means of communication. It is a language that helps the wearer to express his or her emotional needs. Clothing allows us to draw conclusions about the wearer’s characteristics, preferences, attitudes and values. With the choice of clothing, one also has the possibility to influence the impressions and feelings of others. Among other things, one can compensate for deficiencies in one’s own body and thus bring about a desired behaviour when looking at it. Through clothing, one can not only show who or how one is, but also who or how one would like to be.
For many, this is an occasional playing with one’s own identity; a trying out. Especially in the case of expressive clothing, like latex fashion, it’s possible to show the simultaneity of the desired identity and the usual identity, to oneself and to others. With fashion, it is possible to create hermaphroditic roles and to compensate for inner contradictions such as dominance and devotion or strength and vulnerability. One can make the impossible possible. It is the eccentric, the expressive, that is particularly fascinating. It is not via the ordinary that one can be on fire – rather it is through a good mixture of evenness and that something special.