Brooklyn, NYC: Tableaux Vivants latex wows New York’s fashionistas.
TABLEAUX VIVANTS is a Brooklyn-based latex label breaking all the rules with its fashion-forward branding, combining classic latex fetish archetypes and high fashion.
Consequently, as with the UK’s Atsuko Kudo, you’re more likely to find Tableaux Vivants latex depicted in high-profile mainstream fashion editorials than in the fetish media.
TV has been featured in Vogue, Harpers Bazaar, W, Interview Magazine and more, and on models and celebrities such as Kylie Jenner, Madonna, Lady Gaga and Winona Ryder.
So as somebody who has designed and sold latex myself, I was obsessed with finding out what fuelled founder Sonia Agostino’s passion and success, and how she first came to latex.
Sonia attended FIT, a New York design school that has produced such designers as Calvin Klein, Michael Kors and Leon Max. She worked as a cigarette girl in local clubs (Twilo, Tunnel, Limelight) to pay her way.
“It was there that I met a lot of a great people and it’s where I got the connections into my first design jobs,” she tells me.
“I was working with designer Garo Sparo, making beautiful custom garments for some of the most influential people in fashion, nightlife and music.”
Shortly after college, people recommended she meet legendary New York latex designer The Baroness, who was looking for an assistant.
“I knew nothing about this material, and even less about the fetish industry. That is where I learned how to work with this amazing material.
Story: Heidi Patterson
Main photo: Jeana Turner models Tableaux Vivants Creatures Collection She Devil bodysuit, Tits chest piece and latex appliqué mesh gloves – by Taylor Horne. Styling: Sonia Agostino
Photo, right: Polaroid shot of one of Sonia Agostino’s earliest latex creations
“I fell in love with it immediately and as I got better at working with it, I came to realise the immense potential that latex can have in fashion from a design perspective”.
Sonia sent us some scans of Polaroid shots depicting her earliest pieces. It turns out her very first outfit was based on a character in a German fetish comic book.
In these Polaroids (example below) you can see the early signs of the signature playfulness that informs so much of her work to this day.
I’ll soon be delving further into Tableaux Vivants in a major article for The Fetishistas, the Directory’s parent site — discussing the designer’s frustrations and triumphs and tracking her ascent to the heights of fashion.