The evening of June 5th was both enchanting and bittersweet. The intimate Royal Amusements dinner was flawless—delicious food and gorgeous latex-clad guests! At 10pm, as we paraded through the New York streets on our way to the finale Fetish Retinue party, I felt anxious and a little melancholy, knowing that I was walking into the end of an era, and uncertain of what was to come.
Walking up the long staircase to White Noise, the sounds of revelry filled the air. I was delighted to find the club packed! The Fetish Retinue was truly getting the send-off it deserved.
It was an emotional evening as guests approached, asking if this was truly the last party and why, thanking me for 12 years of fetish parties, and telling tales of the fun and tortures they had over the past years. I took to the stage and made a short speech, thanking everyone. I said that with such a huge turn-out I was going to do another farewell party in September, and that drew laughs and loud cheers. Then I stepped into the throng and began to celebrate.
It wasn’t an easy decision to end The Fetish Retinue and I haven’t yet come up with any definite plans, but I do want to do something for my birthday at Halloween, so start thinking about your costumes!
After the party madness I needed a break, so we took a month-long road trip around the US, including some of Route 66, the Pacific Coast Highway, and several amazing national parks.
While fun, the trip was actually another project, this time a photo book: Mr. Mahj Goes West, featuring one of my cats. Look for it sometime next year. Photographer Mark McQueen has a few of the cat images on his blog.
I dressed in simple, shiny, black latex, (it was a memorial, after all). A memorial of an SM titan; guardian of the gates of Hellfire, a piece of history, of a bygone era, and a visible icon with his bald head, long beard, and ever present cigar.
Fittingly, it was held at Paddles (thanks to owner Michael) and it was packed with people who came to pay their respects; those who knew him well (Hellfire debauchees), and those who had only heard legends of the epic man. I recognized many, and noted that the old crowd were grayer, wider, and still playing, (so much for the young, hot, SM stereotype!)
People told tales of the old Hellfire days (we all had them. I was there almost every week, and made my home in the back room where it was narrow and long enough, with a single entrance, for my 8 foot bull whip. It became a little harder once he put a motorcycle in there).
Fortunately, his SM toys, photos, and history were saved and will be sent to the Leather Archives in Chicago. Anyone who wishes to add to that, please contact me.
Latex Design piracy is a hot topic right now. But it has gone on for quite some time, and The Baroness’ Latex Fashions have been pirated a lot.
I was first alerted to design theft five years ago by a watchful fan who had come across three Baroness designs on a Chinese site. They were very easy to recognize, as not only had they stolen the design, they had even lifted the photography from our site to promote their knock-offs. Fortunately, a warning with threats of legal action was enough to get them taken down.
In another instance, latex being sold on Ebay used our “Care and Feeding” information verbatim, including our contact information (implying we had some connection to the articles being sold, which we did not). Again we had the seller remove our work from their ad.
I realize that most latex fashions from reputable designers are not inexpensive, but it is with good reason; Raw latex sheeting is expensive, as are shipping costs. Then there’s labor—constructing latex garments is a skilled craft which takes time to learn to do well. Real businesses also need to factor in their overhead, rent, electricity, taxes, etc. And lastly, there is the talent of the designer and the cost of the many prototypes required in creating and perfecting a well crafted and designed garment.