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Home :: History

History

 

  • Michelle in an early Harlot dress

    1991. EARLY BEGINNINGS.

    Robin and his wife Michelle start going to Fetish club Torture Garden in London.
    Robin makes Michelle's outfits, initially in leather, and then begins to experiment with latex. Other clubbers ask her where she gets her dresses. She replies, "My husband makes them."

  • House of Harlot logo

    1992. THE LABEL.

    After several requests from friends and others to make fetish clothes, Robin succumbs to the pressure and starts to make for people other than Michelle. In January, Michelle comes up with the brand name "House of Harlot", combining the feeling of class of a fashion house with the old English word for a "a lady of easy virtue".

  • The Wasp, photo by Cadaver

    1993. FIRST SHOWS

    With more and more commissions, and more and more designs being developed, the idea of showing to the fetish public was raised. Robin was working on a set of signature designs which were to become the Harlot Wasps. Although intended for a show at Club Submission in July, they had their first outing at Glastonbury Festival! House of Harlot won a prize at Submission and went on to show the Wasps at Torture garden a month later to good responses./

  • Rubber Ball 1994 Show

    1994. SKIN TWO RUBBER BALL

    Orders were going from strength to strength. We moved to a studio in Paddington, with a bigger workroom. We designed our first big fashion show featuring fourteen models/outfits, and put it on in October's Skin Two Rubber Ball. We had really arrived on the Fetish Scene!


  • 1995. HOUSE OF HARLOT AT SKIN TWO.

    As a result of our fashion show at the Skin Two Rubber Ball, Robin approached Skin Two retail to offer them a range of House of Harlot latex garments. Skin Two invited Robin to put together a team to make the Skin Two garment range. So in January 1995, Robin joined with Kaisu Paakkola to set up Skin Two's own branded range, assembling a team of trainee garment makers as well as working with Ana St Clair who came from DeMask, and would a few years later develop her own range as Inner Sanctum.

    Robin was called upon by Skin Two magazine to create cover stories and photo feature outfits throughout this period, working with Tim Woodward and Tony Mitchell, and photographers like Peter Ashworth, Perou and Cadaver, to name but a few.

  • Gen & Mercedes Star Pilots

    1996. MORE PROJECTS

    While running Skin Two's garment design and production, Robin continued to create custom design projects for House of Harlot, and in 1996 met the American couple who would become known as Gen & Mercedes in their latex aliases. First projects for them were the Space Pilots and a version of The Wasp.

  • Robin and Michelle Harlot, photo by Perou

  • 1997. HOUSE OF HARLOT BIG TIME.

    In April '97, Robin left Skin Two's production team to concentrate in earnest on House of Harlot as a full time business. Over the summer he created a hand drawn catalogue which was sent to 30 wholesale customers worldwide. By August, House of Harlot had received £30,000 of orders, and still had no production team or workshops!

    However, some staff from Skin Two elected to follow Robin and we were soon set up in a small workshop in Southwark. At that time the team consisted of Polly Whittaker (now of Fetish Salon, San Francisco), Kelly Duncan, Katie Birrell (now Miss Katie Corsets), and Claire Leftwich (now Prong Jewellery). By October we were also joined by Kaisu Paakkola (who later set up Torture Garden Clothing). And we began to serve the world of Latex with fine garments, From L.A. to Tokyo, from Europe to Australia.

  • Harlot Ad Harlot Skin Two

    1998. FROM STRENGTH TO STRENGTH.

    In this year, we produced our first retail oriented printed catalogue, (this was still in the days before the Internet did much...). Photographed by James & James, artworked and Dieter Muller, it used computer generated backdrops, setting the scene for a glamourous, comic-book style narrative, in which everyone wore House of Harlot Latex. It featured all the staff as models as well as friends and professional models, including Nell McAndrew.

  • House of Harlot 1999 Catalogue Cover

    1999. HOUSE OF HARLOT LIMITED.

    House of Harlot built a web-site, with the help of Kevin McCain, and even had a functioning on-line catalogue. We also produced our second printed catalogue, photographed by James & James, Trevor Watson, Chasray Krider and PiF. More in the style of a "coffee-table book", it featured Vanessa Upton and Dita von Tease as models, and raised the bar for fetish fashion styling and presentation. In the same year, our products appeared in many diverse publications, from more covers for Skin Two and Marquis, to Time Out, Vogue, the Financial Times, the Sun and the Star, FHM and GQ, to name but a few. And rubber enthusiasts the world over were choosing House of Harlot. Robin's father joined as an investor and financial director, and we became a limited company.

  • Vanessa Upton Rubber Ball 2000

    2000. MILLENIUM

    With the momentous events of the Millenium all around, House of Harlot had outgrown its Southwark-based studios and began to search for new premises. This would take over a year. Sales continued strongly, with new customers acquired weekly on a wholesale, retail and custom basis. Our show at the Skin Two Rubber Ball had a curiously Fairytale feel that year, with Dita as a Butterfly Fairy Princess in metallic green rubber corset with wings, and Vanessa Upton as a scary pussycat!.

  • House of Harlot shop 2001

    2001. THE MOVE TO HOLLOWAY ROAD

    After searching for new premises for a year, we finally moved to 90 Holloway Road, and opened our retail store in September. We had lots of fun with a shop window, and with lots of visiting customers from all over the world. With much larger workshop space we were able to develop new ideas and products with ease. However, 9/11 happened and spoilt the world party. Our US wholesale market collapsed overnight, so we began to concentrate on our retail business. We put on a show at the L.A. Fetish Ball in the summer, with twelve outfits old and new.


  • 2002. CHANGES AND DEVELOPMENTS.

    In March, Kaisu Paakkola left the company to start her own range, Torture Garden Clothing, with her partner David of Club Torture Garden. Kaisu had served as Robin's assistant since the first House of Harlot show in 1994. Six months later she tragically died of pneumonia, days before the official launch at Skin Two Rubber Ball weekend. The show went ahead despite the awful circumstances. Kaisu was a good friend and is greatly missed. Some years later, David TG would offer the line to House of Harlot to manage.


  • 2003. BIG PROJECTS

    In the spring, following on from their fashion show the previous November, we made 50 trench coats and skirts for Louis Vuitton in polka dot-printed rubber, as well as some dresses and tops. We also collaborated for the first time with Christian Dior for their fashion show in February.
    But this was also the year that we gave up the front shop at 90 Holloway Road to Fettered Pleasures, and retreated to the back shop, where we have resided ever since.

  • 2004. AWAITING EDIT

  • 2005. AWAITING EDIT

  • 2006. AWAITING EDIT


  • 2007. BEYONCE CALLS, XTINA SALUTES!

    On January 15th, we took a phone call from a private jet between New York and L.A. Tina Knowles, Beyonce's manager (and mother) rang to place an order for over 40 items, for the video for "Greenlight". They were needed within a week! Tina placed the order online, and the following Sunday, we delivered all the items. Robin was rewarded with tickets to see the premiere of "Dreamgirls"!

    In February, Christina Aguilera releaed the Candyman single and video, a 40's swing inspired ditty with some pretty hardcore lyrics. We supplied the sailor suit which she wears at the end of the video, dancing with all the airmen.


  • 2008. TORTURE GARDEN CLOTHING

    In May, we showed a major update of designs for the Torture Garden clothing range. Inspired by a singularly English feeling, based on Punk and Elizabethan style, it was primarily produced as a Show collection, the styles were designed by Florence Druart at House of Harlot. The show was produced by David TG and the items were very well received.

  • 2009. AWAITING EDIT