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How Latex Went From Sex Shops To High-Fashion

Why Rihanna, Kim Kardashian, and Taylor Swift are squeezing into fetish gear.

July 07, 2015

Latex may look high-tech, but the shiny, pliable fabric is almost 200 years old. Its sartorial applications were limited to waterproof macintoshes in the 1920s, but the rubber-dipped material's unique properties quickly earned it a devoted following in fetishistic communities. Before the internet, a handful of companies wielded the supply of latex, but e-commerce broke those monopolies, flooding the market with what had once been an expensive, rare material. Now, latex is experiencing something of a renaissance, appearing on red carpets and music videos, as well as high-fashion runways. Here's how it got there:

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It was a controversial moment for Spears' fragile, virginal image, and pop stars learned from her misstep and steered clear, until Lady Gaga.
Latex was an appropriate medium for Gaga, who made her name in the subversive and controversial.
Never one to turn down an unconventional fabric, Katy Perry followed suit, in a coterie of clinging minidresses.
The relatively inexpensive material quickly became a go-to for large-scale, flashy tour wardrobes, as seen on Nicki Minaj.
Even Britney got back on the latex horse for a minute there.
After designers like Vivienne Westwood's early dalliances with the material had ended, towards the end of 2010 a new crop of brands fell in love with the pliable, clingy material
Then, a couple years later, Kudo found herself a poster girl: Kim Kardashian, a long-time fan of the material.
Kim wore a Kudo bustier to the GQ awards last year.
And this pink Kudo midi dress, like, two days ago.