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Tied Up In Style

It's All About The Lips

So much has happened already this year .... our lace sleeves have appeared in Lucy's Magazine twice, on the front cover no less ! Not to mention our Multi Ring Collar... Beautiful shot.. those lips are sending me into a spin.

Lucy's Magazine _ Darkest Star Multi Ring Collar _ Lucy's Magazine

I've recently discovered the amazing work of Marilyn Minter and boy it's all about the lips. On first glance I believed her recent paintings to be photos, until closer inspection revealing softness, beauty and textural subtleties of an incredibly skilled artist. Her photography is equally enticing ... Provocative and sensual I presumed this to be the work of a young artist treading a similar line to the likes of Ivan Alifan. But no, this truly inspiring woman is turning 70 next year, working since her twenties she's been producing paintings, photography and video as current and fresh today as any work I've seen .... and it just keeps getting better.
I celebrate experience and longevity, reinvention and dedication to the creative self ...I'm excited by this artist more than most as she cements my views that your own creativity is a beast that needs to be fed, inspiration comes from doing and will grow and evolve over the years if only you are brave enough to dedicate yourself to it ... 

Her creative journey continues full steam ahead and she's sure to capitalise with a moist impression of nakedness pressed against a shower door.

Marilyn Minter Erotic Painting _ Fatter Lips

Fatter Lip 2016 _ Enamel on Metal

Marilyn Minter Erotic Photography _ Wet Kiss

Wet Kiss 2014 _ C Print

"Not Milk' or SFW , the erotic paintings by Ivan Alifan

Ivan Alifan is an artists who’s captured my attention with his series of paintings entitled ‘Not Milk’ .

I discovered his work at the Unit Gallery in Soho. The glossy photo real paintings had me engaged from the moment I discovered them. The sexual undertones drawing me into the subject’s acts of pleasure, imagining skin dripping with a sweet, luscious liquid ...

“This series is an exploration of the modern gaze; of ambiguous figurative paintings that are revealed and transformed within the act of the individuals' views. These portraits are not an attempt to render physical characteristics  but rather create a language of underlying sexual subtexts. Using ambiguity as a tool demands the viewer's exploration of their psyches and provokes self awareness.”

* text taken from www.ivanalifan.com *

Erotic Paintings by Ivan Alifan

A Study of Hands ... 

Firstly the beauty of these paintings struck me, the softness of light, palette and stroke ... emulating the seemingly delicate touch. Then my conscious mind takes over, a feeling of guilt sweeping over me, a natural act tainted by ingrained social disgust, judging all those who masterbate. 

Erotic Art by Ivan Alifan

This is exactly what Alifan intended, feeling uncomfortable whilst revelling in a strangers pleasure. 

Luckily for me the feeling subsides quickly and I'm able to appreciate the paintings for their incredible skill and provocative intent.

Ivan Alifan

Art 'Decriminalising' sex allows those who wouldn't normally see such images a chance to absorb, discuss and hopefully enjoy.

Alifa's technique and ability leaves admiration for inspiring skill and the audacity of tackling such a taboo subject with style and finesse.

Russian born Canadian, Ivan Alifan is a young man, born in '89 and at the start of his career but by anyones standards is already producing Contemporary Erotic Art at its best ...

 

Let me know what you think

Always a Pleasure

Sam x

Ruth Bernhard Inspired Shoot | In the studio with Alice

At Darkest Star we’re lucky to know Alice, a singer / song writer from Hertfordshire, she’s unique, talented and incredibly sexy … so of course we wanted to shoot her in our studio.

It was just a test shoot, to see how she reacts in front of the camera as she's naturally quite shy, but what evolved was an honest and inspirational couple of hours.

Being previously inspired by iconic photographer Ruth Bernhard we toyed around with using Silk Georgette, the inspiration for our very first bondage scarf. The transparent quality, so beautiful against the skin yet surprisingly tough.

True art stands the test of time .... these images were shot in the 1930's.

Ruth Berhard | Inspiration | Darkest Star

Bernhard (1905 - 2006) was a German-born American photographer who was known for her black and white studio work. Predominantly working with female nudes she created abstract shapes and sculptural masses using composition, light, and shadow.

Ruth Bernhard | Inspiration | Darkest Star

This image ( below ) is one of my favourites, it was taken in 1947 and has been the source of inspiration for many photographers ever since. It can easily sit on any contemporary platform and still be current.

 

Styled simply, wearing our Tailored Collar Bondage Dress , Andy D’Cruze the other half of Darkest Star and contemporary ‘Image Maker’ captured some alluring portraits and a three image story inspired by Bernhard using our silk georgette dress.

Featuring our Multi Ring Collar 

Wearing our Tailored Collar Dress

Alice is know for the beautiful quality of her voice, likened to some of the all time greats she's destined for equal success. Some exciting projects are in the pipeline which I'm sure to keep you posted.

Until next time.......

Always a Pleasure

Sx

Tessa Kuragi : You need to know her

I admire those who are free to reveal themselves in such a true, unadulterated way, release their fantasies to the world, celebrate their darkness and embrace the uncomfortable. 

Tessa Kuragi wearing Darkest Star

Tessa Kuragi is a London based model and artist who has truly embraced who she is. Working with fashion photographers such as Inez and Vinoodh, Ellen Von Unwerth and Nick Knight she works in a collaborative way, exploring themes relevant to her own interests.

Tessa Kuragi Shot by Nick Knight

Image by Nick Knight

Born in Jamaica she struggled growing up, not fitting into the norm. It was only when she travelled to England to study she felt able to explore and express herself through modelling and the creative process.

 

Tessa Kuragi photographed by Madame Peripetie

Photo by Madame Peripetie

 “ Her work spans the realms of fashion, art, and erotica and sees her playing with the allure of a femme fatale and the coquettishness of a little Lolita.” Trish Weinstock Vice Magazine 

Tessa Kuragi Shot by Mike Figgis

Photo by Mike Figgis

As well as being enticingly beautiful and deadly smart, this woman is incredibly warm and pleasantly humble. I find her one of the most intriguing women of the moment. Her journey has just begun and promises to rock the modelling and art world, captivating all the way.

 

Tessa Kuragi wearing Darkest Star

Tessa Wearing Darkest Star Tailored Collar Dress


Want to know more ? Here’s some great articles and imagery.

Vice

Hunger TV

Another Magazine

Volt Cafe

The End of Being

Always a Pleasure

Sam x

The Chic and the Goddam Dirty

Not many photographers can pull off erotica in a cool & contemporary way, its a thin line to tread but Oliver Rath does it with attitude & style. 

* Hours after posting this blog I've heard the tragic news that Oliver Rath has passed away. I'm beyond gutted for his partner, children, family and our creative world. I didn't have the pleasure of meeting him but was elated by him shooting Darkest Star. We have lost a maverick, a unique man.

RIP Oliver X *

When flicking around looking for erotic art I discovered the work of Berlin photographer, Rath … He’s sharp, with a twist of humour and manages to smash the cliches of most erotic photography.

When trying to create an image with sexual content I don’t understand why taste levels drop as quickly as artistic and photographic standards. One thing’s for sure, flesh and suggestion don’t equate to an erotic image in my book. Taste, skill, a cool concept and tight team are imperative to create an image that turns me on. Thank fuck for artists like Rath.

Model wears our Tailored Collar Dress and Gold Cherry Pasties.

 I was confident Oliver would appreciate Darkest Star so I contacted his studio. They got back to me within a couple of days.. One of my most appreciated emails to date was from the Rath gallery telling me that couldn’t wait to shoot our cool shit…

 Totally expectant of him delivering something memorable I wasn’t prepared for his images to encapsulate the dual personas of the Darkest Star women. The Chic and the Goddam Dirty.

Model wears Tailored Harness

 The Virgin and the Whore lie within all of us ... its true, even if you won’t admit it.

Stolen kisses, being swept away versus getting smashed and fucked into oblivion …….

Oliver Rath is a photographer deeply connected to the urban vibe of Berlin, Starting a blog in 2009 he mastered the art of using the format as a tool, showcasing his life, art and growing his loyal following.

Although his first creative foray with photograph was during a job in community service his career destiny would have to wait 6 years as Rath immersed himself in music. First a hip hop DJ at his local radio station, and then in 2003 after receiving a record contract he performed under the name of ‘Al Kaporn” as a rapper. This was an insight into the erotic humour he was later to inject into his photography.

After touring with Culcha Candela in 2007, Al Kaporn started the transition to photography, with a small Lumix digital he started shooting for a friends agency. This was shortly followed by documenting a fashion show for internet blog ‘Fudder’. Rath invested in a professional camera and dedicated himself to photographing every day for a year.

His characterful portraits of celebrities are among the most popular works by the artist. Photographing worldwide celebrities such as Karl Lagerfeld, Tim Raue or Juergen Vogel have already posed for him.

His erotic imagery is contemporary, humorous and edgy. Almost always shot in black and white with a graphic feel. Although erotic art is not his main focus, it’s certainly the most controversial part of Oliver Rath work.

He doesn’t recognise imposed sexual identities; female and male figures are equally represented in his work, and there aren’t any signs of stereotypes …. which is another reason he rocks Darkest Star.

‘Boheme Berlin’ , A book of Rath’s work can be purchased here. A great addition to anyones life

Always a Pleasure

Sx

Immigration ...... Who’s touched you ?

I LOVE how when living in London, walking down Green Lanes to get my weekly tube pass. Going into my local newsagent and finding that I’d left my wallet at home. The owner, Masood said ‘It’s ok, pay me later’. Trusting me.

                        

Illustration by Zehra Hicks for the #drawtogether #pinclusive , brainchild of Nicola Kent.

I LOVE how 10 years later and I still remember Silvia’s kindness, my French pregnancy yoga teacher. Presenting me with a hand painted plate when my baby boy was born. Pictures of children holding hands dancing around the rim.


I LOVE how Edmond our Albanian plumber returns your call within the hour and turns up to meticulously fix the boiler .. bringing warmth back into our home.

I LOVE how when visiting the hospital the joyous banter and smiles of a Jamaican nurse brightens what could be a bleak day.

I LOVE the support of Ron, a German football dad who stands on the side line, rain or shine encouraging the kids to play well. He shakes your hand on each meeting, full of respect and warmth.

I LOVE going the see Michéle, my Italian leatherworker. He’s a craftsman, the hardest working man I know producing beautiful work.

I LOVE Agnes, my Polish friend and one of the most talented seamstresses I’ve ever met, she has a factory in London that is second to none.

I LOVE how I'm passionate about Darkest Star being 'Made in England' and sing the praises of my 'Immigrant' friends working with love, care and pride, bringing value to my customer and our country.

I LOVE going to Reni’s parties, it’s like the United Party Nation … all nationalities, religions and beliefs under one roof having fun, dancing the night away.. as one.

I LOVE the fact I’ve never considered my good friend Ilze an ‘immigrant’, a young ,vibrant and so very talented woman.. a financial advisor with the integrity of Teresa… giving her spare time at the drop of a hat to help the community.

I LOVE how I could go on and on, bore the living daylights out of you with how many ‘immigrants’  touch my life on a daily basis.

I LOVE our country being so multi cultural, ‘these people’ , people of all nationalities bring magic to every corner of our world. Without you even noticing.

I HATE how we as a nation don’t sing the praises of all the wonderful people who’ve chosen England as their home. 

I HATE how the press have painted such an awful picture of ‘these people’ and tainted the word ‘immigrant’.

I’m a LOVER, not a hater …… and am finding it difficult ….  because I HATE what’s happening with this country.

Who's touched your life ??

SX

Sex by Design

I enjoy a good theory, especially one with a little hocus pocus thrown in the mix. Give me an 'Objet d'art' inspired by such theory and I’m a curiously excited girl ….. and that's exactly what Mark Sturkenboom intended. 

A beautiful if not arguably sick handcrafted box of keepsakes has been named ’21 grams’ after the theory of 20th-century physician, Dr Duncan McDougall. 

Dr McDougall believed that the 'soul' has mass, and when the 'soul' departs the body, so does this mass, leaving the soulless corpse "a soul lighter". To support his hypothesis Dr McDougall weighed 6 patients during the final moments of life and then after passing.

The determination of the 'soul' weighing 21 grams was based on the loss of mass in his first subject at the moment of death.

The now discredited theory has been the inspirational source of many a project including 2003 film ’21 Grams’ starring Sean Penn.

Inspired by a friendship with an elderly lady Mark Sturkenboom set out to create a beautifully hand crafted box of keepsakes, a reminder of your loved one. Incorporating an amplifier for playing music from an iPhone that slots into the base you can listen to the music that once moved you, 

A drawer in the base of the box can be used for keepsakes like a handkerchief or small scarf, a scent bottle… a glass dildo encasing 21 grams of the deceased ashes …. 

"By bringing different nostalgic moments together like the scent of his perfume, 'their' music, reviving the moment he gave her her first ring, it opens a window to go back to moments of love and intimacy," he said.

For me the definition of ‘Design’ is to create goods or service, to meet a demand, for the benefit of others. 

Art, on the other hand is the production of works to satisfy the artists penchant, to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.….this leads me to believe that Sturkenboon’s ’21 grams’ is art rather than design. 

I would quite happily have such a piece displayed on the coffee table to be discussed and admired, to trigger a conversation and spark a debate.. albeit a constant reminder of the 'old mans' mortality !!

Can you picture the scenario of a slightly technology averse widow asking her grandchild to help her out with her iPod dock, raising the question …. granny what the fuck is that ????

Always a Pleasure
Sx

Ladies Come Together

Arriving at 23 Paul Street I had no idea of it’s heritage, although on entering the tall grey town house I sensed there was something special embedded in the walls, woven in the fabric of the building. I was greeted by Oscar the Rhodesian Ostrich, encased in a glass cabinet, a skeletal shadow of his former self .. a sucker for ‘one for the road’.

The fading yet familiar smell of stale tobacco and old liquor sent a buzz of excitement through me. For years I working in pubs, bars and cocktail lounges, the nostalgic aroma of debauched nights transports me back in a second to my own crazy crazy nights. Smiling, I walked through the beautifully dressed rooms and up the many stairs in search of The Skirt Club ladies.

Hoisting my case of goodies up the flights of stairs there’s no surprise I reach the top floor knackered…but lets face face it, all good things in life are worth putting in a little effort.  I walked into a room brightly lit by the same vanity lights you’d find back stage in theatres, glamorous with settee’s suitably covered in underwear, heals and a menagerie of erotica.

The previous night I’d spent celebrating the 40th of a close friend, a sober night for me as I chose to drive, my insurance of getting up early. If it wasn’t for the promise of filming a troupe of sexy women dressed in Darkest Star I would have seriously rolled over and gone back to sleep. 

I wasn’t to be disappointed, the charming Genevieve welcomed me into the room and introduced the team. A women strong team.

Models: Jessica, Olivia, Jazmin, MaryGenevieve.                                   Producer : Riannah Bowden ( Henry & Bowden Productions)                     Director : Laura Henry ( Henry & Bowden Production)                           Photography: Victoria Dawe                                                                         Stylist: Alexandra Darling                                                                   Hair & Make Up : Sian McCauley

Being on a tight schedule the day had begun early, way before I arrived. Some girls were being photographed and a film set prepared. I was introduced to model Olivia and Alice, designer of A E Intimates, a great lingerie label with a young fresh aesthetic.

Olivia, who rocked Darkest Star all day wears our Tailored Waist harness and You(r) Style belts.

Starting to unpack my bags I find a space to begin a day of dressing, blogging and no doubt a touch of voyeurism. I don’t consider myself shy but like many people I take a little time to warm up and get comfortable with a new situation. On reflection I wasn’t sure how the day would go, knowing there to be an all woman team, it only takes one personality to clash with another to throw dynamics off kilter.

Only when the hard work began did the dynamics truly kick in…

The Power of Women 

I can’t remember the last time I was on a set that was so focused and calm. With two shoots going on simultaneously and a full running order, the photographer, stylist and production team worked together seamlessly. All the models I’ve worked with have always been gorgeous creatures with big hearts and huge work ethic, the Skirt Club ladies were no exception.

I went in search of the action…. 

And, boy did I find it.

Oh my god, this room was beyond awesome. Clearly this is no ordinary strip joint. I can only imagine what it’s like on a busy weeknight with amazing women, stripping, teasing, commanding the attention of their clientele. This is definitely on my ’To Do’ list. I missed the filming but no doubt it’ll be exquisite.

Ironically today this beauty was the only cock in the gentleman's club ... and stiff for all the wrong reasons.

23 Paul Street was from 1911 to 1924 a site of the infamous Gold Price Fix, where powerful men met in secret to decide the price of the world’s gold. Fortunes were made as Empire waned.

One door that could't be missed was Mr Stendhal's. Rich cobalt blue with a gold plaque, obviously this was one fella who left a legacy. 

Monsieur Stendhal was a French hellraiser of note. Who is considered to be one of the earliest and foremost practitioners of realism.

In Stendhal's 1822 classic On Love he amusingly describes or compares the “birth of love”, in which the love object is 'crystallized' in the mind. 

  1. Admiration – one marvels at the qualities of the loved one.
  2. Acknowledgement – one acknowledges the pleasantness of having gained the loved one's interest.
  3. Hope – one envisions gaining the love of the loved one.
  4. Delight – one delights in overrating the beauty and merit of the person whose love one hopes to win.

If Stendhal were around today I've no doubt he would have fallen in love many times over...the ladies were not overrated.

The warm, friendly atmosphere on the day reflects the ethos and ethics that Genevieve penetrates into her Skirt Club events. A chic celebration of women, empowerment, and yes .... incredibly sexy.

And on that note...I will love you & leave you...until next time

Always a Pleasure
Sx

 

Darkest Star are dressing the Skirt Club ladies at their next event 'Leather & Lace' on March 19th. Please contact renee@skirtclub.co.uk for tickets and additional information.

 

 

A Sanctum for any Dark Star

Inspired by the success of our Renaissance Lace Sleeves we've been working on a new collection. I want to give our ladies a strong shoulder line, empowering silhouette, gold, metalic, perforated leather, a splash of colour and lets not forget erotic prints. Excited ? You should be !

But when to launch ? We visualised a fanfare of crazy individuals, wearing what their heart desires, parading and shaking their tail feathers ... Torture Garden I hear you cry ... nearly but not quite ... it could only be LFW. 

Being the exclusive, luxury 'Rock & Roll' brand that we are, there was only one venue for us to privately show our new collection. The Sanctum Soho have been housing the super cool since its inception in 2009.. we felt at home ;)

All bondage Sleeves and neck pieces will be available on our website mid March.

Please email sam@darkeststar.co.uk if you can't wait and need further details.

Lana (Pink Hair) wears Neon Cherry Bomb Sleeves

Zoe (Blonde Hair) wears Gold Distressed Leather Pussy Sleeves

Lana wears Black Perforated Leather Sleeves with ring neck piece.

Zoe wears Metallic Blue Bondage Biker Sleeve and Jade You(re)Style Belt

Lana wears Distressed Gold Biker Sleeves

Zoe wears Black Cherry Bomb Sleeves with Perforated Leather Cravat 

 

Always a Pleasure 

Sx

 

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