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December 06, 2023 2 min read

Believe it or not, latex wasn’t always as popular as it is today. Before celebrities and trendsetters like Lady Gaga embraced our favorite fabric, latex was reserved for back rooms and dance clubs. That is until one woman in particular helped influence the NY design scene. 

The Baroness

The Baroness, who first started in the industry 30 years ago, played a huge role introducing latex to a wider audience. After receiving an ill-fitting latex dress that didn’t reflect her own style, she set out to rethink and reimagine latex and from there, her retail concept was born. 

The Baroness opened her store in Manhattan’s East Village more than 25 years ago and has operated at the same location for 12 years. There she lends her styling and design expertise to all types of customers, but her favorites are “latex virgins” or those who’ve never worn the fabric. In fact, she’s convinced everyone can work at least one piece of latex into their wardrobe.

The Baroness NYC Store

Her knowledge and vision influences other designers too. When she first began working with latex, The Baroness was one of only three latex designers in North America. Now, her work has paved the way for many others, including Vex’s founder, Laura, who was mentored by The Baroness. Laura has many fond memories of their time together, especially when it comes to how The Baroness influenced her technique. The first time Laura glued clothing together was under the guidance of The Baroness, who had her glue the clothing on a curve, because it’s the hardest to achieve. That lesson stayed with Laura, who now uses the same lesson to teach her own employees.  

The Baroness holiday party

The Baroness influenced Laura’s craft and technique in so many ways, but they also share many other memorable moments. Laura remembers dressing up for The Baroness’ many parties, including her annual Christmas party, complete with sexy elves. No party was complete without The Baroness getting on stage to tie someone up or get them in her sucky bed design, which was featured on and episode of HBO’sReal Sex. One of Laura’s fondest memories is when The Baroness was filming this episode; Laura made a cameo and they spent hours on set filming. Eventually, The Baroness generously gifted her with the hot pink mini dress Laura wore in the episode!

The Baroness on HBO's Real Sex

Unfortunately, The Baroness is closing her store at the end of July to fulfill her lifetime dream of living in Paris. While we’re sad to see her go, we’re so thankful for her contribution to latex fashion and our time together. We wish her well in Paris!

(All photos c/o The Baroness website)

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